The P&I working group of International Union of Marine Insurers (IUMI) said a study of 20 casualties over the last 10 years showed growing official interest in salvage operations over environmental concerns was the biggest factor driving up costs.
Mike Kelleher, of the West of England P&I Club, presenting the findings to the IUMI conference said that in fact interference from state maritime authorities could cause delays to the removal of wrecks which may lead to even greater environmental problems.
Kelleher said legal challenges could be warranted where government requirements disproportionately drive up costs of the salvage operation.
It was noted by the working group that container ship wreck removals were among the most difficult salvage operations and there is concern if an ultra-large containership is involved in a casualty.
“The fact is the industry has so far been fairly lucky. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before one of the large vessels is involved in a casualty,” Kelleher said.