Filipino Sailor Killed in Houthi Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea Filipino Sailor Killed in Houthi Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea

In 2023, the global number of large ships lost dropped significantly to 26, marking a reduction of over a third from the previous year's total of 41. Over the past decade, annual shipping losses have decreased by 70%.

Particularly notable is the maritime region of South China, Indochina, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which accounted for nearly a third of the vessels lost in 2023.

However, the review cautions that risks remain. Geopolitical conflicts pose a significant threat, with over 100 ships targeted in the Red Sea by Houthi militants alone. Disruptions to shipping in this and surrounding regions continue, accompanied by a resurgence of Somali piracy.

These attacks, observed also in Middle Eastern waters, force vessels to reroute, leading to extended detours and higher costs. This could undermine environmental gains as ships increase speed to cover longer distances.

Moreover, rerouting impacts both the risk landscape and the environment. Smaller vessels accustomed to coastal waters face greater challenges from storms and rough seas, while infrastructure support for large vessel incidents may be insufficient.

Extreme weather was a contributing factor to at least eight vessel losses worldwide in 2023, with the final figure likely to be higher.

Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting at Allianz Commercial, notes, “The speed and extent of the industry’s changing risk profile is unprecedented in modern times. Conflicts such as those in Gaza and Ukraine are reshaping global shipping, impacting crew and vessel safety, supply chains, infrastructure, and even the environment. Piracy is on the rise, with a worrying resurgence off the Horn of Africa. The ongoing disruption caused by drought in the Panama Canal shows how the changing climate is affecting shipping, all at a time when the industry is undertaking its most significant challenge: decarbonization.”

Editor: Kemal Can Kayar