The INTERCARGO Bulk Carrier Casualty Report 2017 provides an analysis of casualty statistics covering years 2008 to 2017. Fifty three (53) bulk carriers with 202 seafarers were reported lost over that period.
Cargo shift and/or liquefaction is one of the greatest concerns for the safe carriage of dry bulk over the past 10 years, likely the main reasons causing 9 bulk carrier casualties and 101 seafarers losing their lives.
Lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining where additional safety improvement is necessary. At the end of Jan 2018, twenty four (24) of the 53 bulk carrier losses in this analysis have had investigation reports made available on IMO GISIS, representing 45.3% of the total. The average time from an incident to a report becoming available has been 21.8 months for these investigations. INTERCARGO calls for Flag Administrations to fulfil their obligations to conduct and report casualty investigations to IMO in a timely manner and for IMO to improve the GISIS (Global Integrated Shipping Information System) database functionality in this context.
In 2017, the INTERCARGO database recorded 337 bulk carrier incidents, including the 2 casualties of M/V Stellar Daisy and M/V Emerald Star. Serious concerns arose on the safe carriage of ammonium nitrate based fertiliser, following the incident of the high temperatures in the cargo holds and the release of gases from the cargo on the 57,000 dwt supramax MV Cheshire in August 2017. Bulk carrier owners are confused with the existing individual schedule for AMMONIUM NITRATE BASED FERTILIZER (non-hazardous) in the IMSBC Code which covers a wide range of different fertilizers with the safety requirements varying depending on their specific properties, types and compositions. The shipping industry welcomed the issuance of the IMO circular CCC.1/Circ.4 on “Carriage of AMMONIUM NITRATE BASED FERTILIZER (non-hazardous)” on 22 Sept 2017; however bulk carrier owners and masters are expecting a prompt legislation process to develop adequate mandatory safety requirements to avoid recurrence of the M/V Cheshire and M/V Purple Beach incidents.