Causes of ship losses worldwide 2019, by type

Foundered ships accounted for 31 of the 41 ship losses in 2019. Cargo ships are the most lost vessel type.

What causes ship losses?

December and January see more losses than other months because unpredictable or poor weather conditions cause many vessels to capsize. Other reasons for ship losses include faulty equipment or human error, which can be a key factor in vessel collisions. There was only one ship that was lost due to collision in 2018: crude oil tanker Sanchi. Not only did this collision lead to 113,000 metric tons of oil being leaked, but it resulted in the deaths of Sanchi's 32 crew members, while the crew of the other ship involved was rescued. Malpractice from both crews is said to have led to the disaster.

Shipping is the origin of insurance

Modern insurance schemes began in the late 17th century in order to spread out the risk of losing merchant vessels at sea. Lloyd’s coffee house in London was a meeting place for mariners to obtain insurance and receive maritime news. This coffee house would eventually become Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s largest insurance markets. Lloyd’s is still heavily involved in the shipping industry.

Causes of ship losses worldwide in 2019, by type

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period


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Statistics on "Ocean shipping worldwide"

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