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Major Losses: 2016

Maritime safety has been improving in recent years, driven by continually evolving regulation and the development of a more robust safety culture. Many ship-owners are now much more proactive around safety than they were in the past.

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Largest Ships Lost

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Fewer losses: Improving safety or economic slowdown?

Maritime safety has been improving in recent years, driven by continually evolving regulation and the development of a more robust safety culture. Many ship-owners are now much more proactive around safety than they were in the past.

The decline in the number of total losses and incidents (casualties) year-on-year, combined with the reduction in mid-sized claims seen in recent years, is likely to be a reflection of this improving safety culture and this bodes well for the shipping industry. However, it should not be complacent.

The recent downturn in shipping is also likely to be a contributing factor to more benign loss activity, as this has led to fewer voyages, slow steaming and an increasing number of vessels in lay-up, particularly in the offshore sector.

Conversely, economic strains have led to cost-cutting in the sector, which could potentially have negative implications for maintenance, training, qualified personnel and, ultimately, loss activity in future.


Total losses by type of vessel 2007-2016

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Cargo vessels (41%) and fishing vessels (17%) account for almost 60% of the 1,186 losses over the past decade. The tanker industry has made great strides in safety in recent years, enjoying an extended period of benign loss activity. It has been excellent at pursuing self-regulation and maintaining high standards. Coastal passenger, cargo and fishing vessels could learn from its safety culture, benefiting from a more proactive approach to investment in safety management systems, training and spare parts.

Total losses by type of vessel (January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016)

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Cargo vessels accounted for over a third of vessels lost during 2016, although activity was down year-on-year. Passenger ferry losses were up year-on-year (8), driven by activity in South East Asia and the Mediterranean. An unusual loss was the 17,042 GT Ocean Dream. The cruise ship had been anchored and abandoned by its Chinese owner for over a year before it capsized off the coast of Thailand.


Causes of Total Losses 2007-2016

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Causes of Total Losses (January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016)

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2016 Total Losses in all regions

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All Casualties including Total Losses 

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