Dry bulk shipping organisation, INTERCARGO has applauded the recent announcement by the IMO’s Secretary General of his determination to improve the number of accident investigation reports that are submitted to the IMO saying it is well known that the lessons learnt, contained within these reports, are a key driver of safety improvement.
During the period 2009-2018, one hundred and eighty eight (188) lives were lost as a result of 48 bulk carrier losses, however investigation reports were only made available on the IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) for 27 of these casualties with the average reporting time being 34 months, which, in the organisation’s strong opinion, is excessively long.
A year ago, in its opening media release for 2019, INTERCARGO reminded that cargo liquefaction continued to be a major risk for dry bulk shipping. The Association would like to stress once again the importance of investigating an incident and the subsequent publication of a quality and in-depth casualty investigation report in a timely manner, in order for lessons to be learnt. It has urged all relevant administrations, that have not done so, to investigate incidents and publish the reports. It is unacceptable that the tragedy continues in this modern age, as shown by the loss of bulk carrier NUR ALLYA (laden with Indonesian Nickel Ore) with 25 crew onboard in August 2019.
Under SOLAS and MARPOL flag States are required to conduct casualty investigations and supply the IMO with any relevant findings. Additionally, for very serious casualties (defined as casualties which involve total loss of the ship, loss of life, or severe pollution) the IMO requests that the full investigation report is submitted to the IMO.
In a statement released on 31 January, INTERCARGO said it has regularly highlighted the lack of reporting of very serious casualties, not only via Media Releases but also in its Bulk Carrier Casualty Report (an annual publication which provides an analysis of Bulk Carrier losses over a rolling ten-year period), as well as interventions at IMO and various fora. At times it has seemed that this message has been falling on deaf ears. INTERCARGO therefore welcomes the IMO’s commitment to improve casualty investigation reporting and is hopeful that the flag States fulfil their obligations so that safety improvements can be made.