Over 90 per cent of world trade is carried by the sea, providing work to 1.5 million seafarers. Shipping is a truly international industry: in today’s global market you might have a Greek-owned vessel, registered in Malta, with officers from India and a mixed crew from Thailand, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the Philippines.
However, it is also one of the world’s most dangerous occupations, in 2014, there were 2,773 casualites. The rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, and they are 26 times more likely to be killed at work.
The threat of piracy is also very real. Whilst it is on a general trend of decline (down 7% from the previous year in 2013) It is on the rise in specific areas: South East Asian waters, The Indian subcontinent and Bangladesh have seen 10% increases in piracy year on year (as of 2014). Over 40 seafarers kidnapped by Somali pirates have been held for over three years.
Volatile states have also had an impact on the shipping industry, in early 2015 a Greek tanker was bombed just off the coast by the Libyan Civil War.by