It’s an axiom of the sea that there’s no greater fear than a fire onboard a ship.
In 2016, 85 vessels of 100 gross tons or more were declared a total loss, and eight of those were due to fire/explosion causes, including one case of suspected arson, according to the Allianz 2017 Safety Shipping Review. From 2007 to 2016 fire/explosion was the third most common cause of total losses, behind foundered and wrecked/stranded.
With the trend toward larger vessels, any disruption in a single voyage has a significant ripple effect throughout the supply chain. Despite overcapacity in the market, industry experts see continued deliveries of container vessels of 20,000 TEUs or more. The larger ships increase exposure to damage, liability, environmental impact and salvage costs. Allianz predicts a casualty cost in the $2 billion to $4 billion range if a large container ship or tanker were to be lost in an environmentally sensitive area.