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03 Jun

Risky business: How shipping boom, war and COVID impact safety at sea

An in-depth interview with Allianz on evolving safety risks faced by shipping

A ship full of Porsches, Bentleys and Lamborghinis catches fire and sinks in the Atlantic. A container vessel ignites and goes down off Sri Lanka. In a sequel to the Even Given accident in the Suez Canal, another Evergreen ship runs aground, this time in Chesapeake Bay. More containers full of goods topple off ships and vanish into the Pacific. Ships stuck in the queue off Southern California drag anchor in a storm and allegedly damage an oil pipeline.

It’s dangerous out there on the high seas.

The safety alarm bells began ringing two years ago, after the onset of COVID. The pandemic trapped hundreds of thousands of beleaguered seafarers aboard ships for months beyond their contracts. Then came the supply chain crisis, causing container ship volumes to spike and keeping even the oldest vessels in service. Then war broke out, affecting even more seafarers.