Piracy, cybercrime and the potential salvage challenges posed by “mega ships” are listed among risks facing the shipping industry in an Allianz report on safety in the sector.
The 2016 Safety and Shipping review points to the potential risk of pirates using cybercrime to target vessels and warns that the industry needs to protect itself against this threat.
“There are … indications pirates may be abusing holes in cyber security to target specific targets,” the report says.
It points to cyber security incidents including one in which hackers infiltrated cyber systems in a port to locate specific containers loaded with illegal drugs.
However, it also cites a separate cyber-risk information paper stating that the “risk of a loss to a ship as a result of cyber disruption is foreseeable, but is not yet a reality”.
More than 3,000 actual and attempted pirate attacks occurred in the last decade, with more than 400 attacks recorded each year between 2009 and 2011.
The number of incidents recorded by the ICC/International Maritime Bureau last year represented a 45% drop on 2010 but there was a slight rise last year with one more incident than was recorded in 2014.
The location of piracy has also changed in recent years. Between 2010 and 2011 a third of all recorded incidents were in Somalia. In the same period, 90 incidents were attributed to Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Last year, not a single attack or attempt was recorded in these waters, which the report puts down to the efforts of international navies operating there.
Conversely, the number of incidents has increased dramatically in Indonesia from 40 in 2010 to 108 last year. Vietnam has also seen a rise in piracy, with 27 incidents recorded last year compared to just 12 six years ago.
Although the number of incidents decreased in Nigeria (from 19 in 2010 to 14 last year), the report says this may be due to incidents going unreported and warns that the country’s coast remains a “hotspot for violent piracy”.
And it isn’t just external risks that are facing the industry.
The cargo-carrying capacity of containers has increased by over 70% in the past decade and the report warns that such “mega ships” could pose major financial losses and salvage difficulties should a shipping incident occur.
Weather is cited as posing an increasing threat as ever more exceptional weather events become more commonplace posing safety risks to the shipping industry and global supply chains.
Hurricanes and other weather events were a contributing factor in at least three of the five largest vessels lost in 2015, including bulk carrier Los Llanitos, which ran aground off the Mexican coast during Hurricane Patricia, and the sinking of the El Faro off the coast of the Bahamas with the loss of all crew.