Shipping stats

Key facts and figures

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. 

Read on to find out all about the shipping world with a range of maritime infrographics and charts that illustrate modern life at sea.


The global fleet

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, there are 50,054 ships in the global fleet.


The rise in international piracy has been one of the most notable and dangerous reinventions of long-standing criminal activity that the world has seen. The history of piracy is well-documented, but in the last ten years the pirates of Somalia, and more recently Nigeria, have come to dominate world headlines for acts of brutality leading to death, injury and long periods of detention for innocent victims, from all over the world.

The Mission to Seafarers has been the leader in applying our welfare expertise to the aftermath of piracy and other extreme forms of maritime violence, and in pressing for change.

The Mission is the only Christian maritime organisation working to assist seafarers transiting the High Risk Area, and helping crews trying to cope with the burden of the threat of piracy.

We continue to influence and lead at the highest level with the IMO for the plight of seafarers to be properly considered and the UK House of Lords has praised our work for the direct contribution we have made on behalf of seafarers as victims of piracy across the world.

Support us

Support our work with seafarers around the world securely on our JustGiving page.

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