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Shipping risks mount, says insurer Allianz

Shipping risks mount, says insurer Allianz
Cyber-threats, crewing practices and increasing activity in the Arctic could all pose major safety and security threats in the coming years, an Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) report has warned.

Total losses of ships over 100 gt numbered 85 in 2015, the lowest amount in a decade, but Arctic casualties rose the their highest level over the same period, the AGCS Safety and Shipping Review 2016 found.

In addition, cost cutting underway in hard-hit shipping sectors is already contributing to an unstable safety environment, warned Rahul Khanna, AGCS global head of Marine Risk Consulting. “Many sectors, such as general cargo, bulk and offshore, are already challenged and any drop in safety standards will be a serious case for concern,” he said.

“Training remains below par in some areas, such as electronic navigation, which should not be seen as panacea but as a complementary tool,” the company added. “AGCS has seen an increase in fatigue-related insurance claims over the past decade. With crew numbers already often at their lowest possible level, and a future staffing shortage anticipated, longer shift patterns could exacerbate this issue.”

The trend towards smart shipping will also carry inherent risks, warned the insurer. “There have already been a number of notable cyber incidents, and technological advances including the ‘Internet of Things’ and electronic navigation means the industry may only have a few years to prepare for the risk of a vessel loss,” it said.

“Pirates are already abusing holes in cyber security to target the theft of specific cargoes," commented AGCS senior marine risk consultant Andrew Kinsey, possibly referring to recent hacking incidents reported by US Tech firm Verizon. "The cyber impact cannot be overstated. The simple fact is you can’t hack a sextant.”