World Fleet Ships in the Dry Cargo Category, Which Includes the Beirut “Bomb” Ship Rhosus, Generally are at Far More Risk Than Other Ship Types, Study Shows

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Worldwide, a high percentage of dry cargo ships  — the same sort of vessel that carried a cargo of ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut this past week — carry maritime risk ratings greatly exceeding normal risk, with at least some in the “red zone” indicating they may be unsafe to set sail, a maritime rating study shows.       

Dry cargo ships are a type that include the Rhosus, which was loaded with 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate when it was determined some years ago to be unsafe.  The cargo was then transferred to a warehouse and stored in unsafe conditions.  It is believed to have blown up most of the port when it ignited in a warehouse on Aug. 4. 


A study by the International Maritime Risk Rating Agency, released to The Frump Report, screened 408 dry cargo vessels worldwide at ports in July and found that 82.6 percent of the vessels exceeded average risk ratings.  

The highest negative risk rating of a dry cargo ship was about 61 percent, placing it in the ‘red zone.’

“Vessel (is) a high-risk probability for severe accidents and casualties,” the agency says of ships carrying its “red” designation. 

Most dry cargo ships are categorized in the Amber zone – above the average risk of a 37.6 percent risk rating of the total amount of the risk assessed dry cargo vessels (7,000 vessels in the database). 

The rating agency says this of the Amber zone:

Amber zone   Higher vessel risk ratings require
increased risk management strategies.

The risk rating firm, the International Maritime Risk Rating Agency (IMRRA), is a European-based company that uses inspection, pollution, injury, casualty and port intelligence records to assign the ratings, all with the help of computer technology and algorithms. It works with FleetMon data among other inputs.  

In general, the agency says, dry cargo vessels receive less safety attention than most other types of ships. It contains this note on its website.  

“Dry cargo vessel agents, operators and owners do not place their emphasis on vessel safety due to fewer safety regulation requirements compared to the Oil & Gas tanker market, and duly focus their commercial interests on price and time.”

The study, made available to The Frump Report, states:

International Maritime Risk Rating agency screened 408 Dry cargo vessels (21 601 407 in total) in July. 

IMRRA identified 337 vessels as operating with the risk upper than average risk rating on the website. The maximum percent of risk that was find out in July is 61%.

By contrast, oil and gas carriers were statistically safer, with only about 28 percent of those sorts of ships ranking above average risk.  

IMRRA screened 1408 vessels (77 171 547 DWT in total) in July. 

International Maritime Risk Rating agency identified 397 vessels as operating with the risk upper than average risk rating on the website. The maximum percent of risk that was find out in July is 60%.

Number of Vessels Risk Rating above and below fleet average 
QuarterMonth>34%<34Min %Max % 

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