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Recent Developments: Passenger ship casualties

A passenger ship makes its way down a river.A slew of casualties with fatalities kept passenger ship incidents in the spotlight in 2015. The IMO adopted guidelines that enhance the safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages, but AGCS experts question whether more needs to be done. Incidents such as the Aung Tagun 3 which sank on March 13 off the coast of Myanmar, the Kim Nirvana-B which sank on July 2 off Ormoc, Leyte, and the Dong Fang Zhi Xing which sank on June 1 in the Yangtze River – all with multiple fatalities – emphasize the ongoing issue with passenger ship safety.

Singapore-based Klimczak believes passenger ship standards in Asia are many years behind the rest of the world. “The quality of class in many territories in this region is far below any recognized international standards. We only hear about the accidents which involve casualties, but there are many more accidents that we do not hear about.” With frequent sailings, and pressure to turn a profit, passenger ship owners in the region find it difficult to schedule in necessary maintenance.

The problem is split between developed and emerging countries. Standards exist for the first but are they resilient enough, asks Gerhard. For the latter, there’s a question mark over whether global safety standards have even penetrated and, if they have, are being enforced. “As a global company, we are building relationships with these countries; we need to share information with local insurers. While we are not the world’s police we have an obligation to assist. We want to make sure standards are agreed and adhered to.”

Khanna agrees: “We, as the industry, need to find ways to penetrate into these regions. The industry should try to raise awareness within the local ferry communities. Enforcement of the regulations is down to the local government and direct influence can be difficult.”

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(Click on image to expand) The East Mediterranean and Black Sea, Japan, Korea and North China and British Isles, N.Sea, Eng. Channel, Bay of Biscay maritime regions have all seen their five year moving loss average totals improve considerably over the past decade. Conversely, the South China, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines five year moving loss average has seen little change. Source: Source: Lloyd’s List Intelligence Casualty Statistics. Data Analysis & Graphic: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty