In 2018, a quarter of shipping total losses occurred in the South China, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines maritime region.

However, this region’s loss total of 12 is significantly down year-on-year and is at its lowest for at least a decade.

Key figures

Analysis data by AGCS on 4,000 insured vessels revealed:

  • The number of collision incidents in the region has increased by 22% in the past four years
  • There have been 425 collision or contact incidents during this period with the average cost of collision claims highest on container vessels (approximately $840,000 based on the 100% loss total of the insurance market, as a number of marine insurers can be involved with any one risk).
  • Overall, collision incidents are the second most frequent cause of claims in the region behind machinery breakdown/engine damage (462 incidents).
  • Meanwhile, a 50% increase in the frequency of incidents overall on container vessels over the past three years alone makes these vessels one of the biggest areas of concern for insurers with around 250 incidents in total during the period covered by the data set.
  • Incidents of groundings have also risen among Asian ship owners/managers (177 incidents in total) with this rise affecting most ship types.
  • Hotspots for groundings and collisions include busy and difficult to navigate ports and transit routes, such as Chittagong in Bangladesh or the Suez Canal. The South China Sea is also a hotspot for collisions.
  • Fires also continue to be an issue with 34 reported incidents over four years, at a total cost to the region’s insurance sector of almost $50m ($48mn). There has been an increase in cargo fires on container ships and car carriers, with a number of notable losses in 2018 and 2019.
  • There have also been a number of fires on smaller chemical and product tankers, such as those triggered by ship-to-ship cargo transfer incidents, as well as engine fires on bulk carriers.

We have seen a rise in incidents involving car carriers, which are becoming more expensive. This is a major concern with fires on the Auto Banner in May 2018 and most recently the Sincerity Ace in January 2019,

...says Tom Taberner, Regional Head, Energy & Marine, Asia at AGCS.

We do typically see more incidents of groundings and collisions in Asia than other locations around the world, but this generally reflects the higher levels of trade and where ship owners are trading. In many cases port infrastructure in Asia is new and there are many new or expanding ports in China, Korea, Japan and Malaysia etc. Newer infrastructure means fewer issues, better port operations and more up-to-date charts,

...said Pierre Chevalier, Head Marine Hull, Asia, AGCS.