Tanker Fire Highlights Accident-prone Nature of Shipping in Energy Industry
By: Maritime Executive June 04, 2014
When DWT tanker Shoko Maru caught on fire recently it was described as one of the worst accidents in energy shipping in the past decade. And a recent study shows that product tankers are considered the most accident-prone shipping types, followed by LPG tankers.
Crude tankers such as the Shoko Maru account for 19 incidents. This number is largely based on collisions, followed by strandings, with very few incidents of fires or explosions due to the low flammability of crude.
Early reports indicate that one of the crew of the Shoko Maru was removing paint with a grinder, and this may have triggered the blast when some oil caught fire.
The tanker was virtually empty at the time. The vessel, operated exclusively in the Far East region, has no records of casualties or safety infractions during its service.
In terms of accidents, Asian waters are among the safest, recording only 154 accidents out of more than 1,600 between Northeast and Southeast Asia combined. The Straits of Malacca, Eastern China, Japan and the Philippines are among the worst due to the traffic volume.