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Incidents & Casualties


The INTERCARGO Bulk Carrier Casualty Report 2018 provides an analysis of casualty statistics covering years 2009 to 2018. Forty eight (48) bulk carriers with 188 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 that 10 year period, likely the main reasons causing 9 bulk carrier casualties consisting of 6 bulk carriers carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, 2 vessels with laterite (clay) iron ore from India and 1 with bauxite from Malaysia, and there were 101 lives lost associated with those 9 casualties against a total of 188 lives lost for all 48 casualties. The total number of loss of life is 82 on the 6 casualties carrying nickel ore from Indonesia.

Lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining where additional safety improvement is necessary. The importance of flag States’ timely submission of casualty investigation reports to IMO should be stressed, as a means for identifying the cause of incidents and enabling corrective actions to be taken. The IMO GISIS database showed that by end January 2019, 23 investigation reports of 48 losses had not been submitted to IMO by their flag States. Some details further highlight the issue of slow reporting:

  • The highest loss of life has been attributed to cargo failure (liquefaction), totalling 101 lives lost from the 9 casualties. Two (2) investigation reports of those 9 cases have yet to be submitted to IMO.
  • The most common reported cause of ship losses has been grounding, totalling 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.

INTERCARGO stresses the importance of timely submission of the casualty investigation reports to IMO from the relevant flag States, as a means of identifying the causes of the incidents and enabling corrective actions.