“Supersize me!” when insurers face modern risk at sea
It is good to hear that shipping in 2012 is safer than it was in 1912. In a century, the overall number of ship losses has decreased significantly from 1 ship per 100 per year to 1 ship per 670 per year in 2009. This figure is revealed in the recent report from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in conjunction with the Seafarers International Research Centre of Cardiff University. It also states that “significant challenges remain as the recent Costa Concordia and Rabaul Queen disasters have demonstrated”.
Human error is pointed out as the main cause of accident in modern shipping. Hiding behind, several primal causes have been identified: inconsistent crew training, regimes and assessment; insufficient crew levels, inadequate risk management, poor enforcement & coordination.
While much progress has been made to tackle these issues, these emerging safety risks need to be further addressed and according to the report, are source of worry for the insurers. Among them is a key trend of modern shipping: Ship sizes’ increase.
“Ship sizes have increased significantly, dwarfing the Titanic in comparison. The largest modern containers, such as the Maersk’s new Triple-E class, pose challenges for insurers due to their sheer scale and value. Other ships are pushing the design envelop, breaking new ground in terms of design challenges which has led to concerns about structural integrity.”
Insurers are not the only ones to worry, giants of the sea are a concern for the whole maritime community: all around the globe, maritime authorities have acknowledged that if an accident was to occur with these vessels, the damage on the environment could be disastrous; salvors have expressed the need for salvage-friendly ships; and ship-owners are more and more feeling the catastrophic impact a accident could have on their industry.
As stated in the report, Improvement in maritime safety is a “combination of technology, cultural, training, regulations as well as new construction and design techniques”. The Maritime Passive Safety solutions lie at the crossroad of these 4 areas. As key players of the maritime world, the insurers are more and more looking closely to its development, studying the opportunity to offer incentives to their clients who would get equipped.
While safer than it was, shipping is only ranked the 4th safest means of passenger transport overall in nowadays Europe. Accidental pollution has thus to be a major concern. The maritime passive safety solutions constitutes a new way to consider the ships and get prepared to mitigate ship-source accidental pollution for greener seas and the benefit of all stakeholders.
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