An alert on the future of shipping casualties concerning ultra large ships under construction and already at sea has been raised at the first Mare Forum Shipping Summit held in Monaco by Nick Sloane, head of Sloane Marine and a member of the Lloyd’s panel of special casualty representatives.
The Costa Concordia’s salvage master focused his speech on the risks emerging from the new ultra large containerships with 20,000 teu capacity and very large ore carriers carrying more than 400,000 tons of dry bulk cargo. In particular Sloane, mentioning MSC Rena’s accident off the coast of Tauranga in New Zealand with the consequent oil spill, emphasised the concept that “the bunker capacity of the latest generation of ultra large ships exceeds 5,000 tons of fuel and it’s like having a small product tanker onboard”.
Then Sloane highlighted the relationship between ship safety and market returns for shipping companies saying that: “As long as rates for shipping remain low, owners shall have to reduce costs, focusing on spares and crew costings, while shippers have to cut corners to offer attractive rates for support services and the risks for global shipping on the high seas will remain”.
Costa Concordia’s salvage master considers the LNG/LPG and cruise ships as exceptions because, he said, they are not seeing these tight margins.