All at sea - unusual facts around shipping safety

Three vessels shared this unwanted accolade in 2018 – all of them passenger ferry services operating to and from Greek Islands. The three ferries were all involved in eight separate incidents over the year, with one vessel operating in the Aegean Islands involved in eight incidents in just five months. Machinery damage/failure was the cause of seven of these incidents; the vessel was also grounded as it approached port.
Wednesday is the most frequent day for shipping losses over the past decade (169) with Saturday (130) the safest day at sea. Twelve, or more than a quarter, of 2018’s 46 total losses occurred on a Wednesday.
January is the busiest month for shipping losses around the world with 117 reported over the past decade, including nine in 2018. Bad weather is often a factor. December is the second busiest month for losses (104) with one loss even reported on Christmas Day in 2018.

Over the past decade there have been many different causes of incidents and losses on board all kinds of vessels. Here are five of the most unusual:

  • A chemical/product tanker had to be boarded by a SWAT team of police marksman off Lisbon, Portugal after a mutiny by crew over loading and offloading duties. The vessel eventually sailed two days later
  • A passenger ferry operating in South Korea had to be towed back to port by the coast guard after colliding with a whale. The vessel was later declared a total loss, as repairs were deemed too expensive
  • A passenger ship en route to Hamburg from Rotterdam had to be diverted towards Helgoland after it encountered rough seas in the North Sea and water from its swimming pools flooded restaurant areas.
  • Seven of the 15 member crew of a chemical/product tanker went on hunger strike after a salary dispute at Ajman port in the United Arab Emirates, delaying the vessel by more than week.
A total of 893 kilos of cocaine was found on board a container ship concealed in frozen sharks while the vessel was off Yucatan in Mexico!
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