International shipping faces new threats

Piracy is a rapidly increasing threat to Australian businesses, with attacks in Indonesian waters increasing 700% since 2009.

Not only is piracy moving closer to our waters but the development of ‘megaships’ are creating new risks to trade and businesses, according to Allianz’s latest Safety and Shipping Review.

Ron Johnson, Regional Marine Manager for the Pacific at Allianz, says these emerging risks should raise alarm bells in international trade.

“The shift of the piracy focus from the Gulf of Aden to a new hotspot in Indonesia should be of concern to all businesses in the Pacific region involved in international trade as all shipping between the region and Asia has to transverse these waters,” he says.

With limited ports, Australia faces megaship risks such as increased insurance costs, serious casualties in remote locations and complex salvage operations.

Last year, an onboard incident forced the 15,000 teu (cargo units) Emma Maersk to make an emergency stop while travelling along the Suez Canal.

However, due to the size of the megaship the port was not able to host the vessel.

The impending arrival of the Prelude – a megaship longer than the Empire State building is high and able to transport 18,000 containers – has insurers concerned about the ability of many ports to offer refuge.

“Given Australia’s large coastline, and limited ports of refuge and repair facilities to handle such vessels, the arrival of these megaships could heighten the risk to cargo owners,” Johnson says.

“And there are even larger vessels capable of up to 24,000 teu on the horizon and which are expected to come into service in 2018.”

Arctic trading routes and the use of alternative fuels such as LNG were also emerging risks in the report.

For a comprehensive look at the Safety and Shipping Review, click here.