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ILU Reports On 1994 Ship Casualties To Third Quarter

Fewer ships lost but a significant increase in the total tonnage they represent sums up merchant ship casualty experience during the first nine months of 1994.

Statistics compiled by the Institute of London Underwriters (ILU), applying to ships of500 gt and over, show that the nine-month period — and taking into account major casualties confirmed as total losses or constructive total losses (CTLs) to end-September — the number of ships lost was 75. But the total tonnage involved — 863,025 gt — continues to show a sharp deterioration, confirming the trend seen earlier this year.

Some major casualties, or partial losses, could possibly become total losses or CTLs, thereby increasing the total loss figures for the nine months.

Releasing the statistics, the ILU commented: "Based on updated figures, 139 ships totaling 889,499 gt became total losses in 1993, a year that brought a distinct improvement in loss ratios. It now seems more than probable that total tonnage lost this year may rise to over 1 million gt, which would equate with 1992 experience and, indeed, could be worse.

"However, underwriters will be encouraged by the lower number of ships actually lost. Also, as tonnage lost this year to date mostly consists of older ship types, in value terms 1994 could turn out no worse than 1993 unless there is a major reversal in the final quarter." The Estonia Disaster In the third quarter of this year, the Estonia tragedy overshadowed all else. The passenger/RoRo/cargo ferry (21,794 gt, built 1980) capsized with the loss of more than 900 lives, although 139 people were rescued The vessel had an insured value of $48 million, with an additional Increased Value policy of $12 million.

The largest ship lost was the Turl ish-flag tankerBurak M. (67,521 g built 1976) which sank while in ba last off the West African coast i: September after engine room flood ing. The vessel's insured value wa $15 million. Another high-valu loss, in July, was the Cypriot-flaj bulk carrierForum Chemist (22,912 gt, built 1981), insured for $10 mil lion, which had an engine room fir< while it was in the Mississippi River and was later declared a CTL.

A bigger but older Cypriot-flag bulker, the Iron Antonis (48,756 gt built 1968) was a victim of heavj weather on September on a voyage from Tubarao, Brazil to China with a cargo of iron ore. The vessel sank midway between the islands of Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena; the crew of 24 apparently abandoned ship but no survivors were found.

Loss of Life In a year when loss of life at sea was already increasing, the Estonia worsened the figures to a huge and tragic extent.

The ILU stated: "Our casualty reports show that 1,240 people were either killed or reported missing as a result of total and partial losses in the January - September period.

This includes an estimate of 910 applying to the Estonia. The ninemonth total compares with 613 for the whole of 1993 and 386 for 1992." The ILU noted that it is extremely difficult to collate loss of life figures accurately; also, that its statistics apply only to ships of 500 gt and over, thus excluding many small fishing vessels and other craft (such as small ferries).

The ILU, which represents the company marine and aviation insurance market, compiles and publishes marine casualty data on monthly and annual bases. For more information on the report Circle 10 on Reader Service Card

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