Between the $1.16 billion in claims from cruise ship Costa Concordia's disastrous wreck in January and the estimated losses from Hurricane Sandy, which could total upwards of $3 billion, this has been quite a year for the marine insurance industry.
The most recent addition to the list of shipwrecks in 2012 occurred in the North Sea on December 5 when the Baltic Ace car carrier and the Corvus J container ship collided, sinking the Baltic Ace. According to Reuters, the car carrier was insured for between $50 million and $60 million.
As of Thursday, Dutch rescuers said it was unlikely that they would find the six people who are missing. In addition to the seamen lost in the crash, 1,400 new cars carried by the Baltic Ace sunk to the ocean floor.
Though the cause of the collision is still unclear, there are discrepancies among those involved as to what – or who – may have been at fault. The Dutch Defense Ministry said that conditions were treacherous, but others are saying that they were completely normal.
According to Panagiootis Kakoliris, operations manager at Stamco Ship Management Co., Ltd., the company that managed the Baltic Ace, the vessel was only five years old and had passed a safety inspection in August, which seems to rule out technical failure, as well.
"You cannot control some things. This happened in good weather, normal weather. There was good visibility, so I feel most probably there was a human error," Kakoliris told Reuters.
Kakoliris brings up a great point about the lack of control that comes with owning and operating a commercial watercraft. No matter how experienced a seaman you are or how calm the ocean conditions may be, the fact is that anything can happen on the open waters. This is why many boat owners and organizations turn to marine insurance providers who can help them find the best rates and ensure that they are covered in the case of an accident.