Suicide One Of Top Causes Of Seafarer’s Death: Alarming Report

A brand-new report shows that some 11% of crew fatalities registered with Marine insurer Gard are due to suicide.


by Shipping Telegraph

“This is a worryingly high number, and we believe that the actual number could in fact be much higher due to underreporting. We also believe that many cases of crew deaths are preventable,” Gard said in the new report published the previous week.

Over the past 5 years, Gard has recorded over 400 crew fatalities. The frequency of death claims is fortunately low at 0.01 deaths per vessel year with the worst recorded year being 2021 in the last five years.

Gard explains that this category of claims should “ideally be zero but as an industry we are unfortunately far from where we would like to be.”

The report, “Gard Crew Claims Report 2024”, is based on the analysis of five years of people claims data and more than 20,000 cases.

When it comes to the cause of death, 74% of the fatalities registered with Gard are due to illness.

According to the world health organisation (WHO), 74% of all deaths globally are due to non-communicable diseases.

The most common causes of death are cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic respiratory disease, and Type 2 Diabetes, according to WHO.

In the new publication, Gard analyses some of the key trends within crew and people-related insurance claims, highlighting the most frequent injuries, illnesses and other risks that can face seafarers onboard.

The report puts a particular spotlight on the importance of mental health, as well as on preventive measures that can be taken by shipowners, managers and by the seafarers themselves.

As far as the crew injuries, Gard reports that while injuries formed only 32% of the total crew claims during the past five years, the average claim amount for an injury is usually higher than for illness claims.

In 2023, Gard registered close to 1000 injury claims (both crew and non-crew) and the frequency in 2023 increased by 44% compared to 2020.

The most frequently registered causes for injuries are slips, trips and falls, whilst the second most common cause is being hit by an object or a line, mostly during mooring operations.

When looking at the most frequent crew illnesses, abdominal pain was the most common cause of illness followed by back pain and heart-related issues. COVID-19 is no longer on Gard’s top ten list of most frequent illnesses.

“As an industry, there is considerable work to be done to achieve the ideal state where seafarers are safe and shielded from these risks,” Gard concluded in its report.