A survey carried out by the World Shipping Council shows that an average of 1,390 shipping containershas been lost at sea each year for the past three years.

This figure represents a 48% reduction in average annual loss for the previous three years. While this is encouraging, it’s representative of the fact that there was not a repeat of the catastrophic losses from previous years.

The MOL Comfort lost all 4,293 containers when it sank in the Indian Ocean in 2011. This was followed by the loss of 900 containers from the MV Rena when it ran aground off the Coast of New Zealand a few months later.

Take these disasters out of the equation and the yearly loss is much lower, and shows a downward trend. By these calculations, the years between 2011 – 2013 average at 733 units lost each year. By comparison, recent years level out at 612, a reduction of 16%. The tragic sinking of American cargo ship in 2015 which resulted in the death of 33 crew members accounted for 43% of total containers lost that year.

The most recent figures account for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. What is now regarded as the most reliable source on the subject, the WSC started the surveys to dispel what they describe as ‘wildly inaccurate’ claims that the industry lost up to 10,000 shipping containers at sea each year.

John Butler, CEO and President of WSC reflected on the figures and their implications,

“Although the number of containers lost at sea represents a very small fraction of the number of containers carried on ships each year, the industry continuously strives to reduce those losses. The latest report shows that the average number of containers estimated to be lost each year is down from the estimates reported in 2014. This is an encouraging sign.”

Aside fromt the damage implications to the vessel in instances of lost containers, there are repercussions from suppliers and customers to contend with. Marine cargo insurance can help you manage your liabilities arising from a loss in one package. Contact Safeguard on 08456 888 284 or email sales@safeguardinsurance.co.uk