The fires onboard the Hapag-Lloyd ship Yantian Express off the coast of Nova Scotia and the car carrier Serenity Ace in the North Pacific are highlighting what have become frighteningly commonplace occurrences.
The first week of 2019 brought a spate of serious shipping accidents that has continued this week. On Tuesday a fire and series of explosions on a tanker off of Hong Kong resulted in the death and injury of several crew members. South China Morning Post reports one crew member died, two are still missing and seven were taken to a hospital when the Vietnam-registered tanker Aulac Fortune exploded as it was taking on fuel.
Insurer TT Club wrote last year, “Sources suggest that container fires may occur on a weekly basis and statistics indicate there is a major container cargo fire at sea roughly every 60 days.”
Andrew Kinsey, senior risk consultant at the insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, which publishes an annual Safety and Shipping Review, said, “It is a truly shocking figure when you look at what a single container on fire can develop into.”
Lennard pointed out that the inspections his company traditionally has done are of containers carrying cargo being exported from the U.S. and are for repeat customers.