Link to UNCTAD review of Maritime Transport 2019
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The following are the major international shipping conventions, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (and the International Labour Organization) concerning safety and pollution prevention.
Relatively few ships actually sink at sea. The vast majority of the following "losses" simply refer to ships which are damaged and "written off" by the hull insurers as being beyond economical repair - described by underwriters as "total constructive losses".
As in all transport sectors, lives are sadly lost as a result of accidents at sea. Disappointingly, there has been a rise in fatal accidents in the last two years, although the loss of life in shipping is in fact relatively modest, and the overall trend is one of reduction in the number of fatalities, which is all the more impressive in view of the growth in the number of ships in the world fleet.
The shipping industry is a small contributor to the total volume of atmospheric emissions compared to road vehicles and air transport (see graph below) as well as public utilities such as power stations, and atmospheric pollution from ships has reduced in the last decade.
The amount of oil spilled by ships varies from year to year and figures for a particular year can be distorted by a single large incident. However, in general terms, shipping has shown a marked downward trend in the amount of oil spilled each year.
Graph to show the Oil consumed per hour by a ship on average and how this has varied over time
Diagram showing the IMO's plan for ship improvements from 2013-2050
Graph to show variation of Sulphur emissions between emission controlled areas and outside emission controlled areas
The worldwide population of seafarers serving on internationally trading merchant ships is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings.