Allianz Safety and Shipping Review 2024 - Shipping losses and safety


( Annual shipping losses have declined by 70% over the past decade, demonstrating the significant improvements made in maritime safety. However, the speed and extent of the way the industry’s risk profile is changing is unprecedented in modern times. Conflicts such as Gaza and Ukraine are reshaping global shipping, impacting crew and vessel safety, supply chains and infrastructure, and even the environment. Piracy is on the rise, with a worrying re‑emergence off the Horn of Africa. The ongoing disruption caused by drought in the Panama Canal shows how the changing climate is affecting shipping. Meanwhile, the trend for larger ships, and the changing nature of their cargoes, continues to pose safety questions, all at a time when shipping is having to undertake its most significant challenge, decarbonization.

Rich Soja, Global Head of Marine, Allianz Commercial

Allianz Commercial’s annual Safety and Shipping Review identifies loss trends and highlights risk challenges for the maritime sector.

Given as much as 90% of international trade is transported across oceans, maritime safety is critical, and the shipping industry has made significant improvements in recent years. During the 1990s, the global fleet lost 200+ vessels a year. This total had halved by 10 years ago and is now down to a record low, as of the end of 2023.

The review shows just 26 total losses of vessels (over 100 gross tonnage [GT]) during 2023, compared with 41 a year earlier, down by more than a third. Annual shipping losses have declined by 70% over the past decade (89 in 2014). South China, Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines is the main loss hotspot globally, both over the past year and decade, accounting for almost of third of all losses at sea in 2023.

A huge volume of imports and exports flows through the region, resulting in high levels of shipping traffic, which is reflected in the number of incidents. The past decade has seen 729 total losses reported around the world. Three regions, South China, Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines (184), East Mediterranean and Black Sea (115), and Japan, Korea and North China (62) account for almost 50% of global loss activity over this time.

Cargo ships accounted for over 60% of vessels lost during 2023 (16). Foundered (sunk) was the main cause of total loss across all vessel types (13), accounting for 50%. Wrecked/stranded ranks second (4), with fire/explosion third (3). Fire activity onboard vessels declined during 2023. However, there have still been 55 total losses caused by fires in the past five years, and there were over 200 fire incidents reported during 2023 alone (205) – the second highest total for a decade after 2022.

The number of reported shipping casualties or incidents also declined during 2023 (2,951 compared to 3,036), albeit only by 3%. The British Isles region saw the highest number of reported incidents (695). Machinery damage or failure accounted for over half of all shipping incidents globally (1,587).

The British Isles is also the new top location for the most shipping incidents over the past decade (5,279), replacing the East Mediterranean and Black Sea, and accounting for 19% of the 27,821 reported incidents over the past decade. Globally, most incidents are caused by machinery damage or failure (11,506), followed by collision with other vessels (3,014), wrecked/stranded (2,808) and contact with port infrastructure (1,916).





Source: Allianz Insurance




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