Aiming to establish the main safety concerns currently facing the shipping industry, Inmarsat published “The Future of Maritime Safety Report 2022”, examining data from Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) calls made to Inmarsat.
espite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and global supply chain disruption, total vessel losses across the industry have continued to steadily decrease, following a downward trend of 57% over the past decade.
The Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality (AGCS) Safety and Shipping Review 2022 shows a drop from 65 total vessel losses in 2020 to 54 in 2021, suggesting the industry’s continued focus on regulation, improved ship design and technology and risk management advances are increasing overall trends in safety.
#1 Key cause of concern
While total vessel losses may be decreasing, data gathered by Inmarsat indicates a significant spike in Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) calls, rising abruptly from 597 in pre-COVID 2018 to 761 in 2019 and 834 in 2020, before a potential drop and re-stabilisation in 2021 with 749 incidents reported.
#2 What vessels rank as the top 3 for distress calls
The data shows the top three sectors with the highest distress calls as tankers, fishing vessels and bulk carriers, with the lowest incidents arising in passenger ships.
#3 COVID-19 impact on safety
As parts of the world began to stabilise from the effects of the pandemic in 2021, shipping too saw a stabilisation of GMDSS numbers, suggesting that many challenges caused by COVID-19 to crews and ships were lessening. It could also suggest that crews and owners have adapted to operating in this ‘new normal’ and can better anticipate and prepare for future safety issues.
Adding context to the comprehensive data analysis, the report features expert opinions from industry representatives and seafarers invited to share their views on the most pertinent maritime safety issues and the changes they would like to see implemented to address them.
Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President of Safety and Security, Inmarsat Maritime, said:
The Future of Maritime Safety Report provides insights into safety trends from GMDSS data gathered between 2018 and 2021 and reveals patterns at a local and global level. Better understanding these patterns can help us to take proactive steps to prevent such incidents going forward and help guide us to a safer future
Establishing a clear link between the global health crisis and a “drastic rise in distress calls in the last three years”, the report suggests that shipping “has not emerged from the pandemic unscathed”. It concludes with a call to action, imploring the industry to put “safety at the core of its operations” and use “every solution available to prevent incidents and save lives”.
Protecting our seafaring workforce requires constant vigilance and a concerted effort from the international maritime community, working with agencies and governments around the world
added Cyrus Moody, Deputy Director, International Maritime Bureau, addresses the value of communication and collaboration in tackling piracy.