March 14 - Shipping losses continued their downward trend with 94 losses reported worldwide in 2013, coming in below 100 for only the second time in 12 years, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE's (AGCS) second annual Safety and Shipping
Losses declined by 20 percent from 2012 when there were 117 reported losses. The 2013 accident year also represents a significant improvement on the previous 10-year loss average with total worldwide shipping losses declining 45 percent since 2003.
The most common cause of losses in the past year was foundering (sinking or submerging), often driven by heavy weather, accounting for almost 75 percent of all losses, which was a significant increase from both 2012 (47 percent) and the previous 10-year average (44 percent).
An increasingly difficult operating climate for ship operators has forced a number of innovations, including larger ship sizes to capitalise on economies of scale, the use of alternative fuels and changes in ship designs. At the same time, more economical trading routes are fast appearing in Arctic regions during the summer months, but these present their own set of challenges, which are examined in the report.
Capt Rahul Khanna, senior risk consultant, marine, AGCS said: "Risk parameters are constantly changing, and securely mapping the potential routes which the global shipping trade will navigate, is becoming extremely difficult to monitor and predict.
The report also says that whilst piracy attacks declined 11 percent to 264 reported incidents worldwide in 2013 according to International Maritime Bureau statistics - 106 of these occurred in Indonesia, which has seen a 700 percent increase in attacks since 2009. Most of these attacks remain low level opportunistic thefts carried out by small bands of individuals but one third of incidents in these waters were reported in the last quarter of 2013, and there is potential for such attacks to escalate into a more organised piracy model unless they are controlled.
An emerging piracy hotspot with more organised crime is the Gulf of Guinea with 48 incidents in 2013, accounting for 18 percent of all attacks worldwide.
Piracy attacks in Somalia have declined dramatically with only seven incidents in 2013 compared with 160 attacks in 2011.
The report suggests the piracy model could be broken in Somalia in a couple of years if naval patrols continue.]