Analysts from IHS Maritime & Trade have predicted continued increase in fatal accidents in both the shipping and passenger sectors largely as a result of continued expansion of the global commercial shipping fleet.
Last year, there were 1,639 maritime casualty incidents reported, up 10 per cent from the 1489 incidents reported in 2013.
IHS estimates that there will be an additional 1,484 new ships this year, adding to the 42,604 vessels considered part of the global trading fleet in 2014. “This trend will continue at roughly three per cent per year and will pass the 50,000 mark by 2020,” the company said.
The analysts said the primary concentration of maritime incidents lies in the busy maritime trading zones of Europe and Asia Pacific.
IHS data indicates: “Double digit year-on-year increases in the number of incidents in the top 10 trading zones, with the British Isles and the North Sea seeing a 19 per cent increase alone, while eastern Mediterranean and the South China Sea seeing 12 per cent increases each.”
Last year there was a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in vessel collisions, with the busy waters of the South China Sea posting the highest number.
Analyst Gary Li said: “The continued growth in global maritime trade is of course good news, but it should go hand in hand with the safety of seafarers. However, the declining rate of total losses as a proportion of overall casualties is a good trend.”
Li explained that ship age is also a critical factor, “with the majority of those incidents occurring in Canada, Russia and the Great Lakes being vessels with the highest average ages of 28-31 years.
In terms of potential casualties, the report said that the highest statistical risk is still associated with passenger vessels because so many more people are on board in the event of an incident. In 2014, 418 casualties were reported, 108 per cent more than the 201 casualties reported in 2013.
Meanwhile, United Kingdom firm, Moore Stephens has identifies positive approach as the best attitude to tackle the challenges of 2015.
According to Moore Stephens, shipping needs to adopt a can-do attitude in order to successfully meet the challenges, which are likely to come its way in 2015.
Moore Stephens shipping partner Richard Greiner said: “Shipping confidence started 2014 on a six-year high and ended it on a two year low. It is difficult to predict with any certainty what the next 12 months will bring, beyond further uncertainty. To paraphrase an old adage, shipping goes into 2015 needing to accept the things it cannot change, to change the things it can change, and to make sure it understands the difference between the two.
“Top of the list of things which shipping cannot change is the relentless march of regulation. In 2015, this will assume still more onerous proportions with the inception of new regulations governing Emissions Control Areas, and a further step towards ratification of the BWT Convention.
“Overtonnaging, meanwhile, is top of the list of things which shipping can change. Accelerated scrapping is needed, together with an acknowledgement that there are already too many ships on the market and that, absent some form of rationalization, freight rates will not pay the bills.
“One area where shipping can demonstrate that it knows the difference between what it can and cannot change is in its attitude to private equity. Does private equity not know what the rest of us know, or does it know something the rest of us do not? Rather than bemoaning the short-term commitment of private equity, shipping should be looking to tick the boxes, which attract such investors.
“Operating costs will go up in 2015, along with the cost of regulation, while it would be no surprise if oil prices were to go up faster than freight rates over the course of the year. Environmentalists will be happier with shipping. There will be increased interest in risk management, without which there will be still more new building disputes of the type currently sitting on the desks of arbitrators, and more companies following the unhappy route into bankruptcy taken at the end of last year by OW Bunker.”
Greiner added: “Shipping embarks on a new year with confidence in a fragile state. The industry is volatile, and will be looking for improved political stability and a stronger global economy. But it should not underestimate its proven ability to endure throughout crises. The biggest danger may lie not in setting the targets too high and falling short, but in setting the targets too low and achieving them.”
The year 2014 saw the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) actively pursuing its targets and objectives in a wide range of subject areas. In these pages we present some of the highlights of what was a busy, varied and successful year for the Organization.
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