Intercargo Bulk Carrier Casualty Report 2014 - 2023 shows improved safety and declining ship losses

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(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) INTERCARGO’s annual Bulk Carrier Casualty Report examines the safety performance of bulk carriers over a rolling 10 year period in order to identify risks and improve safety for seafarers and of vessel operation.

The new edition of the Bulk Carrier Casualty Report 2024 reveals that between 2014 and 2023, 21 bulk carriers of more than 10,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) were reported lost, with the tragic loss of 89 seafarers’ lives.

However, examining the trends over the past 10 years it is clear there is a trend of improving safety and declining ship losses between 2014 and 2023. In 2023 there was only one total loss of a dry bulk vessel and no loss of life.

As the trends illustrate, the average number of ships lost between 1990 and 2023 within the bulk carrier industry continues to go down, showing positive signs of improvement in safety performance. These statistics and trends can also be set against a backdrop of a significant growth in the global bulk carrier fleet 2014-2023. Over the past decade the bulk carrier fleet has grown from 10,000 vessels in 2013 to almost 12,200 by Jan 2024. Today’s bulk fleet represents more than 40% of world tonnage.

Initial analysis of the statistics in the Report 2024 reveals some potential safety gaps, such as:

      • Cargo liquefaction remains the greatest contributor to loss of life, accounting for 55 lives or 61.8% of the total loss of life over the past ten years.
      • Groundings remain the greatest cause of ship losses, with nine losses or 42.9% of the total.

Bulk carrier safety must never be overlooked. We must continue to remind ourselves of how INTERCARGO’s work has contributed to significant improvements in safety, moving us away from the ‘dark days’ of the past, where significant losses of lives and ships occurred.

From 1990 to 2000, our sector was losing between 5 and 26 bulk carriers per year, resulting in the tragic loss of 23 to 186 seafarers respectively. Since then, safety performance in the sector has steadily improved. This is an impressive achievement especially when considering the considerable rise in the number of bulk carriers in the world fleet during this period.

Significant findings

  • 80,000+ dwt: Six ships were lost, accounting for 23.8% of the total 21 casualties reported. These casualties cost 22 lives, or 24.7% of the total 89 lives lost during the period. In 2020 the losses of one Capesize and one VLOC vessel (Wakashio and Stellar Banner) focused attention on large bulk carrier safety.
  • The lowest number of casualties occurred in the 60,000-79,999 dwt range, representing 9.5% of the total of 21 ship losses, with no fatalities. There was no life lost as a consequence of those ship losses.
  • Other categories saw the loss of six ships with significant loss of life as a result. The 50,000-59,999 dwt range accounted for 55 seafarers’ lives, (61.8% of the total), and 12 fatalities in the 10,00034,999 dwt range.

ANALYSIS OF TOTAL LOSSES FROM 2014 TO 2023

  • 21 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt have been identified as lost, an average of 2.1 per year.
  • 89 crew members lost their lives as consequence, or on average nine fatalities per year.
  • The average age of the bulk carriers lost was 19.4 years.
  • Vessels amounting to 1.78 million dwt in total have been lost, an average 177,526 dwt per year.

Losses by cause

  • Cargo liquefaction remains the greatest contributor to loss of life, accounting for 55 lives or 61.8% of the total loss of life in the past ten years.
  • Groundings remain the greatest cause of ship losses, with nine losses or 42.9% of the total.
  • Three casualties (14.3% of the total) were a result of flooding and these cost 22 lives - a significant 24.7% of the total number of lives lost.
  • The average life loss per ship casualty was 4.24 during the tenyear period between 2014 and 2023, and 4.00 between 2013 and 2022, 3.41 between 2012 and 2021. This compares to 3.56 during 2011 and 2020.

Safety performance of Bulk Carriers

• The statistics from 2014 to 2023 suggest a clear trend of improvement in terms of the rolling 10-year average of ship losses. As the trends illustrate below, the average number of ships lost within the bulk carrier industry continues to go down, showing positive signs of improvement in safety performance.

A growing fleet

  • These statistics and trends can also be set against a backdrop of a significant growth in the global bulk carrier fleet 2014-2023.
  • Industry figures show that the global bulk carrier fleet has seen significant growth in the years since 2013. About 10,400 bulk carriers were operating in 2013. That figure had grown to 12,226, according to the MIS data, by January 2024.

Casualty list

Between January 2014 and December 2023, 21 bulk carrier casualties were identified as total losses. These are listed in the report below.

To learn more, click below to download the full report:

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Source: Intercargo

 

 

For more Marine Accident Investigation Reports, click HERE.

 

 

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