100 years after Titanic, Allianz report highlights new risks in taking to sea

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Despite greatly improved safety records in the century since Titanic, the maritime industry faces new challenges driven by the continued growth of worldwide shipping, specialist marine insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has advised.

In the 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, the world commercial shipping fleet has trebled to over 100,000 vessels, yet overall shipping loss rates have declined from one ship per 100 per year in 1912 to one ship per 670 per year in 2009.

While factors such as new technologies and regulation have tremendously improved marine safety, new risks have emerged. AGCS’s report, ‘Safety and Shipping 1912-2012: From Titanic to Costa Concordia’, based on research from Cardiff University’s Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC), highlights several key challenges for the industry including the growing trend to ‘super size’ ships and cost pressures pushing ship-owners to source crews from emerging economies where standards of training and assessment can be inconsistent.

Other significant safety risks include reduced crewing numbers which may compromise margins of safety and encourage ‘human error’ risks; increasing bureaucracy on board ships; the continued threat of piracy off Somalia and elsewhere; and the emergence of ice shipping and its associated navigational and environmental complications.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Sven Gerhard, AGCS’s global product leader Hull & Marine Liabilities, says: “While the seas are safer than ever today, the industry needs to address these new risks proactively. For example, ultra-large ships pose challenges for insurers due to their sheer size and value, while others raise concerns on structural integrity and failure. While scale alone does not make these ships riskier, the increased sizes introduce specific risks that need to be addressed, such as salvage and recovery considerations and emergency handling.”

To view the full report, please visit: www.agcs.allianz.com

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