‘Shipbuilders and engine manufacturers are being challenged on all fronts’ – Willis

Marine operators can find themselves under scrutiny by environmentalists – not just in the case of a major wreck or spillage, but also for the pollution created by vessels.

Speaking to StrategicRISK, Willis Marine managing director Neil Macnaughtan said: “Shipbuilders and engine manufacturers are being challenged on all fronts to meet the growing international requirements for a ‘greener’ industry.”

In addition, the drive to low sulphur fuels is also a challenge for operators. “Ports are demanding more controls in that regard, but they come at a cost when parts of the shipping industry are struggling,” adds RSA’s Global Marine claims leader Peter de Boissiere. “That burden, plus the cost of installing scrubbers, might be too much for some operators.

“There could be two potential issues in the claims world: lines going to the wall, with cargoes left distressed in ports around the world; and an increase in fraudulent claims from vessel owners seeking to do away with vessels.”

The loss of the container vessel Rena off New Zealand is an example of the rising cost of dealing with shipping accidents in sensitive areas.

“The cost of salvage – estimated at $300m (€221m) – made it the third most expensive in the world. It was many times what it might have been had the accident not occurred in an area where special attention was needed to avoid further damage to the environment,” says Macnaughtan.

Rena had to be cut up and removed in sections, all with incredible care.”