Liquefaction leading cause of fatalities from bulk carrier losses

Between 2009 and 2018 more than half the 188 fatalities recorded from 48 bulk carrier losses were directly attributable to cargo failure or liquefaction, Intercargo revealed in its latest statement on bulk carrier casualties reporting.

“Cargo failure and liquefaction continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping. Nine casualties with the loss of 101 seafarers’ lives between 2009 and 2018 were believed to be from cargo related failures -six bulk carriers carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, two with laterite (clay) iron ore from India and one with bauxite from Malaysia,” the Association added.

The core message from Intercargo was an admonition of flag states tardy approach to submitting investigation reports on past incidents. Of the 48 bulk carrier losses suffered in the last ten years only 23 investigation reports have been handed in by flag states as of end January 2019.

Examples of pending investigation reports for submission include:


  • The highest loss of life has been attributed to cargo failure (liquefaction), totalling 101 lives lost from the nine casualties. Two investigation reports of those nine cases have not been submitted to IMO.


  • The most common reported cause of ship losses has been grounding, totalling 19 losses among the 48 cases. Six investigation reports of those 19 cases have not been submitted to IMO.


  • Six ships lost with unknown causes claimed 61 lives. Five investigation reports of those 6 cases have not been submitted to IMO.


  • Reported flooding led to losses of six ships. No investigation report of those six cases has been submitted to IMO.

Intercargo drew particular attention to the recent publication of the Stellar Daisy Casualty Investigation Report by The Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator on 19 April. “(the report) was much expected by the industry and Intercargo had frepeatedly urged for its timely submission to IMO, as over two years had passed since the tragic sinking of M.V. Stellar Daisy in the South Atlantic on 31 March 2017, with the loss of 22 lives.”

Finally, Intercargo urged all relevant administrations, that have not done so, to investigate incidents and publish the reports in a timely manner.

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