The International Union of Marine Insurance said the percentage of hull "total losses" fell to a record low last year, following a marginal increase in 2012.
IUMI said this continues a 15-year trend of reduced total losses.
In a press release announcing statistics presented at its spring meeting in Niagara Falls, Canada, IUMI said the frequency of hull total losses declined in 2013, to a record low of 0.13 percent in terms of numbers and 0.05 percent in terms of tonnage.
Age of ships appeared to be more of relevance for total losses of dry bulker carriers than for tankers, IUMI said. More than 60 percent of the dry cargo ships lost were bulkers that were older than 25 years between 2009 and 2013.
Weather continued to be the major cause of total losses, IUMI said, representing almost 50 percent of the vessels lost between 2009 and 2013. Grounding is the second most frequent cause, accounting for 25 percent of the cases.
IUMI said the number of major incidents -- including total losses -- also fell in 2013.
The major single cause of serious losses was from incidents with the machinery and in the engine room. This category represented 35 percent of the cases.
However, navigation errors -- groundings and collisions combined -- stood for almost half of the claims in terms of numbers. Vessels older than 25 years generated 35 percent of the losses.
IUMI said the loss of the container ship MOL Comfort
last summer dominated the cargo insurance market, with an expected insured loss of between $300 million and $400 million.
“The loss highlighted the growing concerns of the cargo underwriters given the MOL Comfort
was carrying 4,382 containers and the market is set to welcome a new breed of container vessels, which have a capacity of 24,000 TEU,” IUMI said.
The hull and machinery of the ship were insured for $66 million.
“The most worrying part of this story is that for a loss of this size, only 4,382 containers were lost. In the near future, 24,000 TEU carriers will be on the high seas,” the group noted.