The period of 1980 and 1990s was one of disaster and unreliability for the dry bulk carriers. This was mostly because of the ships sinking in the water, in most cases much too quickly for the crew to escape. The problems were mostly caused due to the structure of the ships, and their load of cargo. The structures of the ships were such that huge spaces were present under the deck and in large tanks or compartments on the ship. The immense size of the ships made them difficult to handle. Moreover the kind of cargo being stored on and transported by the ships was usually of dry and loose nature like grains and coal etc. In case of the loose cargo like sand and grains the cargo usually settled at the bottom of the floor of the vessel creating an air space between the top of the container tanks and the top bottom of the deck. Moreover in high seas, his cargo was very volatile and shifted direction therefore making the ship unstable in terms of its centre of gravity. As a result the dry bulk ships are prone to capsizing.
The issue of capsizing was undertaken by the SOLAS after 1959. “This was a new version of a convention that owed its origins to the Titanic disaster of 1912. The new bulk carrier regulations were more advantageous from an economic point of view than those adopted in SOLAS 1948 (which required a more extensive use of increasingly expensive temporary fittings and/or bagged grain) and many countries quickly put them into effect, even though the Convention itself did not enter into force until 1965. However, the new regulations still had some deficiencies as far as safety was concerned, for during a period of four years, six ships loaded under the 1960 SOLAS rules were lost at sea.” (‘IMO and the safety of bulk carriers ’)However due to the history of the sea based accidents involving dry bulk carriers the new dry bulk carriers are being developed which can withstand the much rigor of the weather as well as the nature of their work while being stable and reliable on the water.