Equasis 2011 Annual Report Published

Last week Equasis published its annal report for 2011. Equasis is populated with data from most of the world’s merchant ships. Basic ship particulars are derived from the commercial database of IHS Fairplay. Equasis is fed by 45 data providers which can be divided into six categories: core ship and company data, PSC regimes, classification societies, P&I clubs, associations or vetting programs and other international organisations. Almost all these sources are used in this document to a greater or lesser extent.

From a commercial and regulatory point of view, size and type of ship are two key criteria and therefore throughout the report the statistical analysis is based on these two elements. For the “Port State Control”, in the report ships have been divided into ship type categories derived from PSC databases. As to PSC information, it should be noted that not all inspections within the Indian Ocean MoU are reported in Equasis. Only inspections from Australia, India, Iran, South Africa, Sri-Lanka and Mauritius are considered in these statistics. In 2011, these six countries represented about 90% of all inspections carried out within the Indian Ocean MoU. The Viña del Mar agreement has also provided data to Equasis since March 2012. However, the year 2011 is not fully covered by this provider. Therefore, for this report, no data from the Viña del Mar have been be used.

The Merchant Fleet Population

The Equasis fleet is dominated (83%) by small and medium sized ships up to 24.999 GT. Small ships alone represent 36% by number, although only 1% by tonnage. Many of the small ships are not subject to international conventions on safety and pollution prevention because of their size or because they do not trade internationally.

General cargo ships are the most common type by number, at 21.5% of the Equasis fleet. However, most of these are small and medium-sized. In the large and very large categories, oil and chemical tankers and bulk carriers represent well over half of the fleet by number.

In terms of tonnage the large and very large categories represent 78% of the Equasis fleet (Graph 2), with oil and chemical tankers and bulk carriers dominating both categories at 66% (large) and 65.5% (very large) respectively.

Over half (54.2%) of the Equasis fleet, by number, is 15 years or older, but this is due largely to the dominance of older ships in the small and medium ship categories. The trend is reversed in the large and very large ship categories, where 76.2% (large) and 83.9% (very large) are less than 15 years old. The most modern fleets can be found in the large and very large ship categories with 84.7%, by tonnage, of the fleet below 4 years of age (Graph 4). At the other end of the age scale, large and very large ships over 25 years old account for  just 3.1% by number but 37.8% by tonnage.

Under half (38%) of the total number of ships are associated with a targeted flag. Whilst graphs 15 to 20 show that the proportion of ships under a targeted flag decrease with size: 39% for the medium size ship category, 34% for the large ship size category and 30% for very large. The figures are very close with respect to number and tonnage.

24.4% of the ships associated with targeted flags are of general cargo ships, while passenger ships make up 5.7% of the ships associated with targeted flags.

Classification Societies

The Equasis fleet over 500 GT is dominated by ships classed by IACS members (76% by number and 96% by tonnage).

This proportion is reflected in most of the ship types although general cargo ships account for almost half of the world’s fleet over 500GT that are not IACS classed (Table 21 of the report). IACS share increases with size, with 98% and 99% of the large and very large ship size category, by number and tonnage, being classified by IACS members. Ships covered by non-IACS members are almost all medium sized (Tables 23, 25, 27 of the report). IACS’ coverage is greater among the younger fleet and tends to diminish with age – from 92% of ships aged up to 5 years to 46% of the fleet over 25 years old.

The safety performance of the Equasis fleet over 500 GT, as measured by detention rate, shows that 3.86% of inspections resulted in detention in 2011. Those ships with an IACS class were less likely to be detained in 2011 (2.92%) than those with non-IACS members or with no recorded class (11.42%).

The number of inspection on vessels in the very large ship size category with a non-IACS class or no recorded class is too small to be statistically significant, and the 0% detention rate for this category is meaningless, as it is based on only 21 inspections on 41 ships.


For vessels over 500GT in Equasis, for which data has been supplied, 60% are covered by one of the members of the IGP&I. 96% of the large and 98% of the very large ship categories are covered by the members of the IGP&I. Within the medium ship size category just under a half (47%) are covered by the members of the IGP&I by number, which equates to about 71% in tonnage.

The age profile of ships covered by the members of the IGP&I is considerably younger than those which are not. A third (36%) of the IGP&I fleet is under 5 years old and less than one eighth (12%) is over 25 years old. Of the younger fleet, more than half are either chemical tankers or bulk carriers (Table 81 of the report). This trend is more marked in the large and very large ship categories. For non-IGP&I members the trend is reversed, as only 13% of the fleet under 5 years old and 55% is over 25 years old, with nearly a half of the older fleet being general cargo ships (Table 89 of the report).

The safety performance of vessels over 500gt that are included in Equasis, as measured by detention rates, shows that 3.86% of inspections resulted in detention in 2011. Ships outside the Group had a higher detention rate in 2011 than those with inside the Group (8.38% compared with 2.63%).

The number of inspection on ships in the very large ship size category and covered by non-IGP&I members is too small to be statistically significant and the 0% detention rate for this category is meaningless, as it is based on only 60 inspections on 92 ships.

Port State Control

Of the 50788 ships over 500GT in the fleet covered by Equasis, 64% (32723) were inspected at least once in the period 2009-2011. This equates to 87% by tonnage. For 2011, table 111 and 112 show that this proportion is 57% (28847).

The number of individual ships inspected increased steadily in the period 2002 to 2011. In 2011, there is an increase in the number of individual ships inspected once. A possible cause is the New Inspection Regime in place in the Paris MoU region that modifies the targeting of ships to inspect them all on a regular basis, instead of a fixed proportion of 25%.

Regionally, in 2011 there was a greater tendency towards multiple inspections of ships in the Tokyo MoU region than in the other regions. In contrast, in the Paris MoU, 80% of the inspections are done on different ships, which is a significant increase compared to 2010 (56%). This can also be explained by the New Inspection Regime in place in this region.

The majority of ships without an inspection record is in the small or medium ship size category (97% in number).

By age, older ships have been subjected to fewer inspections than newer ships. With respect to ships with IGP&I coverage, they have also been subjected to more inspections. The explanation for this is not evident, but a possibility would be that the majority of old ships and ships not covered by IGP&I are not operating in the regions for which Equasis has PSC data. Ships with targeted flags are subjected to more inspections than those of non-targeted flags .

Issuers of statutory certificates are, in majority, Recognised Organisations that are member of IACS. Only 6% to 7% of the inspections of ships over 500GT have at least one certificate issued by a flag State, but about 96% have at least one statutory certificate issued by a Recognised Organisation that is member of IACS. Flag States play a bigger role, in proportion, for issuing certificates on ships from the very large size category.

The involvement of flag States differs greatly depending on the statutory certificates. The Minimum Safe Manning Document (SOLAS/STCW) is the only statutory certificate that is, in majority, issued by the flag States. Flag States are also more involved in issuing the ISPS (that ensure security on ships), especially targeted flags. Flag States are more involved in SOLAS requirements while Recognised Organisations have almost a monopoly on MARPOL certificates.

Trade Associations and Industry Vetting Programmes

The majority of ships are not covered by the trade associations and/or industry vetting programmes providing data to Equasis. However, of the oil, chemical and gas tankers in the large and very large size category, just over a half (1917 out of 3954) are covered by Intertanko while nearly 94% are covered by OCIMF (3722 out of 3954). OCIMF also covers around 47.6% of the oil, chemical and gas tankers in the medium ship size category (3615 out of 7590).

Ships in the medium, large and very large size categories that are covered by one of the trade associations and industry vetting programs are inspected more frequently in the four regimes providing data to Equasis than those ships not covered. For example, ships in the large ship size category, that fall into the oil and chemical tankers and gas carriers ship types, who are members of Intertanko were each inspected on average 1.53 times (2015 inspections of 1314 ships), compared with 1.34 times (1511 inspections of 1128 ships) for the ships who are not Intertanko members.

However, ships who are members of a trade association or industry vetting programme were detained less often than those that were not members. For example the detention rate of inspected Oil & chemical tankers and Gas carriers who are members of Intertanko was 1.1% compared with 2.2% for those who are not members. It is a similar picture for ships that are members of by Intercargo, Green Award, CDI and OCIMF.

Over a half (52.7%) of the companies included in the data collected by Equasis operate just one ship. Over 84% operate five or fewer, although these companies account for 30.3% of the fleet over 500GT by number.

Ships operated by larger companies had a much lower detention rate than those operated by smaller companies. For ships in companies with more than 50 ships the detention rate is below 2% while one-ship and two-ship companies had rates of 8.19% and 6.65% respectively.

The Equasis annual report for 2011 can be found by clicking HERE

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