The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Glory Amsterdam aground off Germany on October 30, 2017.

26 APR 2019

Despite no reported losses in 2018, cargo liquefaction continues to pose a major threat to bulk carriers and their crews, according to bulk shipping association InterCargo.

The warning from Intercargo comes as it releases its annual Bulk Carrier Casualty Report, analyzing bulk carrier casualties from 2009 to 2018. Although there were no reported losses in 2018 and overall trends show signs of safety improvement, there is no room for complacency, Intercargo says.

Over the ten year period, there have been 188 lives lost and a total of 48 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt have been identified as total losses.

In particular, cargo failure and liquefaction continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping, responsible for nine casualties with the loss of 101 lives between 2009 and 2018. Six of those were carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, two with laterite (clay) iron ore from India, and one with bauxite from Malaysia, according to the report.

Ship operators need to be especially cautious when loading during a wet season, as seasonally experienced in certain parts of South East Asia, however, it is paramount that shippers and local authorities fulfill their obligations as required by the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code),” Intercargo said in the report.

Intercargo said lessons learned from past incidents play an important role in determining where additional safety improvement is necessary. It also stressed the importance of flag States’ timely submission of casualty investigation reports to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a means for identifying the cause of incidents and allowing corrective actions to be taken.

Intercargo found that among the 48 losses, a total of 23 investigation reports have still not been submitted to the IMO by their flag States, based on information from the IMO GISIS database at end January 2019.

Intercargo did welcome the recent release of the Stellar Daisy investigation report by the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator, which was highly anticipated and long-awaited by the industry. Intercargo said it had repeatedly urged for its timely submission to the IMO, as over 2 years have passed since the tragic sinking of Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) in the South Atlantic on 31 March 2017 with the loss of 22 lives.

Intercargo noted other examples of pending investigation reports, including:

  • Two of the nine investigation reports attributed to cargo failure (liquefaction) have not been submitted to IMO.
  • The most common reported the cause of ship losses has been grounding, totaling 19 losses among the 48 cases. Six (6) investigation reports of those 19 cases have not been submitted to IMO.
  • Six (6) ships lost with unknown causes claimed 61 lives. Five (5) investigation reports of those 6 cases have not been submitted to IMO.
  • Reported flooding led to losses of 6 ships. No investigation report of those 6 cases has been submitted to IMO. 

You can find the full report on the Intercargo website HERE

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