Industry partners could still do more to ensure the safety of crews, says INTERCARGO, as it submitted its latest Bulk Carrier Casualty Report to the Sub-Committee on IMO Instruments (III 8).
espite high levels of awareness from shipowners themselves of the dangers of improperly loaded cargo, the Report identified that liquefaction continues to be the greatest contributor to loss of life in the bulk sector.
During this period the Report identifies a total of 27 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt as total losses, and 92 crew members lost their lives. Liquefaction accounted for 18.5% of the total vessel casualties in the past ten years yet was the cause of 76.1% of the total loss of life.
The Report also highlighted that not only were IMSBC Code requirements not being followed, especially in relation to testing and certification of cargo condition, but that there was also lack of adequate assessment and monitoring of the condition of cargoes being loaded in the cargo holds by representatives of all interests.
Uttam Kumar Jaiswal, Vice-Chairman of INTERCARGO says:
It is the lack of consolidated effort and commitment from many stakeholders to resolve the problem that is evident. These can include shippers, receivers and port state authorities at loading and discharging ports
Taking the above into consideration, INTERCARGO urges all shipowners, operators, and seafarers to exercise extreme caution when accepting, for carriage, nickel ore, bauxite, iron ore fines, ball clay and other cargoes that have the potential to liquefy.
Operators must be especially cautious when loading during a wet season as is currently being experienced in certain parts of South-East Asia and West Africa.
We would like to stress the importance of adhering to the provisions in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) to ensure the safety of lives at sea and the safe transportation of dry bulk cargoes
Accident reporting also comes under the spotlight. It is well known that lessons from incidents and casualties and sharing of experience are effective approaches to raise safety awareness and vital to deepen understanding and knowledge of existing rules, regulations and skills.
All too frequently however, there is a significant delay between the time at which a report, or an initial report is submitted by an accident investigating organisation and when that information becomes publicly available, INTERCARGO adds.
However, there is some good news, as statistics of ship losses and consequential seafarer fatalities suggest that safety performance of the bulk carrier industry is heading in the right direction, with a clear trend of improvement.
There is no room for complacency and there are still opportunities for further improvement by re-evaluating and implementing enhanced measures to address cargo safety and safe navigation, thereby striving to eliminate losses in the future