Intercargo: Liquefaction Caused Most Loss of Life from Bulk Casualties

Stellar DaisyIllustration; Image Courtesy: Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries

Loss of life arising from bulk casualties, that occurred over the past ten years, was mostly caused by cargo failure and liquefaction, according to a report from Intercargo.

Reported bulk carrier casualties during the period from 2009 to 2018 accounted for the loss of 188 lives, while 48 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt were identified as total losses.

Although there has been no reported loss of a bulk carrier in 2018 and the ten-year trends in annual average numbers of lives and dry cargo ships lost show positive signs of safety improvement, Intercargo said that there is no room for complacency.

Cargo failure and liquefaction continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping. These are believed to have caused 9 casualties with loss of 101 seafarers’ lives between 2009 and 2018, including 6 bulk carriers carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, 2 with laterite (clay) iron ore from India and 1 with bauxite from Malaysia.

Other causes that led to bulk casualties include grounding, which was the most common reported cause of ship losses, totalling 19 losses among the 48 cases. Six ships lost with unknown causes claimed 61 lives, while reported flooding led to losses of 6 ships.

“Lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining the scope of additional safety improvements. 23 investigation reports on these 48 losses were still not submitted to IMO by their flag States, as per information on IMO GISIS database at end January 2019,” Intercargo added.

Investigation reports that have not been submitted to IMO include two reports of nine casualty cases related to cargo failure, six investigation reports of 19 grounding cases, five of six cases of ships lost with unknown causes, and all six cases of reported flooding losses of 6 ships.

Intercargo welcomed the recent publication of the casualty investigation report into the loss of the very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy by the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator, over two years after the vessel sank in the South Atlantic on March 31, 2017 with the loss of 22 lives.

The report indicated that a catastrophic structural failure of the ship’s hull was the likely cause for the incident. The hull failure probably began in No 2 Port Water Ballast Tank (WBT) of the 266,141 dwt vessel, that was converted from a very large crude carrier in 2008.

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