The maritime industry saw the number of total losses reported worldwide decline again 2015 to 85, which is the lowest total for a decade and the second year in a row annual losses have fallen below 100, according to an upcoming report from Allianz.
The appetite for ever-larger container ships, which has seen cargo-carrying capacity increase by 80% over the past decade, continues with 2015 seeing the entry of ships as long as four football fields, which are able to carry 19,000+ containers.
Hurricanes and bad weather was a contributing factor in at least three of the 10 largest vessels lost during 2015 including El Faro, the worst US commercial maritime disaster in decades.
Regarding piracy, for the first time in five years, the number of piracy attacks increased during 2015.
Progress continues to be made in Africa with incidents down in Nigeria and Somalia, although the risk remains high.
Attacks in South East Asia continue to increase, with this region now accounting for around 60% of global incidents. Vietnam is a new hotspot.
There are concerns that pirates may have caught on to the possibilities of abusing holes in cyber security to target orders for specific cargoes, and utilising automatic tracking systems before taking over the ship, disabling communications and siphoning off the cargo.
While the long-term downward trend in shipping losses is encouraging, the continuing weak global economy, depressed global commodity prices and an excess of ships are pressurising operating costs, leading to concerns about the impact this may have on maritime safety in future.
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty will release its 2016 ‘Safety and Shipping Report’ on March, 21.