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Why do cargo ships sink frequently?

Cargo ships are massive vessels that are designed to transport massive amounts of goods across the ocean. Sadly, accidents happen, and cargo ships are no exception. One of the most common accidents that occur with cargo ships is the sinking of the vessel. This article will discuss the reasons why cargo ships sink frequently, and what can be done to prevent such incidents from occurring.

One of the leading causes of cargo ship sinking is the lack of maintenance. Most cargo ships are owned by private companies that seek to make the maximum profit off of every trip. This means that maintenance of the vessel is often deferred, until it becomes a critical issue. The ship’s hull, engine, and other important components may not receive proper care, leading them to deteriorate over time. When a ship’s infrastructure fails, it can result in catastrophic outcomes, including sinking.

Another factor that contributes to cargo ship sinking is overloading. The economy of scale dictates that bigger cargo ships are beneficial as they can transport more goods, thus reducing the cost per unit. As a result, shipping companies try to increase the payload to maximize their profits. They often overload their vessels to transport more goods, which puts a strain on the ship’s systems. Overloading causes the ship to be unbalanced and leads to the instability of the vessel in the waters. This increases the risk of capsizing and sinking, especially in rough seas.

The third reason for frequent sinking of cargo ships is human error. Human errors, such as operating the vessel negligently or with inadequate training, have been common to many incidents of shipping disasters. Inexperienced crew members may not know how to handle emergency situations that could arise, leading to loss of life and property. Moreover, the presence of murky water, icebergs, rocks, and heavy traffic in sea routes is dangerous and demands utmost caution from crew members. The navigation systems need to function correctly, and vessel equipment should be used to prevent operational errors.

Finally, environmental factors like storms, hurricanes, and tsunamis could result in sinking a cargo ship. While cargos are usually resilient in adverse weather conditions, they could still become vulnerable under extreme conditions. Natural disasters that occur while the ship is in transit could lead to severe damages that could undermine the stability and pose a significant danger to the crew and the ship. In such situations, the captain and the crew members should take all necessary precautions to avoid a catastrophic consequence.

Sinking of cargo ships is preventable. Besides, it is crucial that cargo ships should be fit and seaworthy before setting sail. Additionally, the manufacturers should ensure their ships comply with safety standards established by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Operators and crew members should also undergo proper training to minimize human errors, familiarize themselves with the ship’s equipment and operating systems, and how to respond to emergencies. Both the shipping industry and regulatory bodies should continuously work towards improving safety regulations to ensure the lives of the crews, the cargoes transported, and the environment are protected.

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