Shipping is the safest and most environmentally benign form of commercial transport. Perhaps uniquely amongst industries involving physical risk, commitment to safety has long pervaded virtually all deep sea shipping operations. Shipping was amongst the very first industries to adopt widely implemented international safety standards.
Because of its inherently international nature, the safety of shipping is regulated by various United Nations agencies, in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which has developed a comprehensive framework of global maritime safety regulations.
Reduction in the Number of Ship Losses
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”.
The figures below cover the entire global industry and indicate the steady improvement in safety performance over the last two decades.