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Another defect found on a Polaris VLOC

The hunt for the Stellar Daisy has been plunged into chaos with another converted VLOC that had been leading the search and rescue mission in the South Atlantic – also belonging to the same beleaguered Korean owner – forced to head to Cape Town for repairs.

Polaris, the world’s largest VLOC owner with earlier ambitions of listing in Seoul within the next three months, has suffered a triple whammy in less than two weeks with the sinking of the Stellar Daisy and the likely loss of 22 seafarer lives, a crack appearing on another VLOC, Stellar Unicorn, days later, and now, Splash can exclusively reveal, a defect has been found on the 1992-built Stellar Cosmo and it will leave its role as the on scene coordinator of the Stellar Daisy search and rescue mission to go off to be fixed.

In the wake of the Stellar Daisy and Stellar Unicorn incidents, Polaris rushed in an inspection in the last few days of its entire fleet. Like 19 of Polaris’s 32-strong fleet, the Stellar Cosmo started out as a VLCC before being converted to a VLOC in China. The local seafarer’s union in South Korea has questioned the seaworthiness of these converted ships in recent days.

Meanwhile, as the search for the missing Stellar Daisy enters its 13th day, Splash understands that key navies leading the mission are scaling back their resources as the chances of finding any survivors are now deemed faint.

Brazil, for instance, has stopped deploying its airforce for reconnaissance.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Should these problems have been detected earlier?
    I know below will open a can of worms……
    Management /owner companies frown on any ship stopping defects being reported to port state control/ surveyors.
    Rest hours are regularly flouted.
    There is a process of blacklisting such “troublemakers” in management . Whistle blower process is non existent or powerless.
    Maybe the defect was reported, and smart managers ashore may have wiped out the communication??!!
    Maybe it is a coincidence but have noticed that usually there was an internet problem in office after a “disturbing ship stopping reporting”
    Feel internet use be controlled 45min/day x 2 per crew member in his spare time.
    Having sailed in the merchant navy for nearly 35 years, I have seen
    Notice Crew members not getting enough sleep, not socialising/exchanging ideas due to this addiction.
    Rest hours reporting is still dishonest to say the least.
    From a crew strength of 55 well rested ; it is down to 20 over-worked /sleepless crew these days.

  2. fully agree with your comments Sunil The only way to monitor crew fatigue and stress in an objective way is by medically validated sensors. data analytics can detect and predict if the sleep deprivation caused by work/rest schedule, climate, operations or social factors reaches a danger point so at that point preventive action can be taken to save lives, safeguard health and avoid accidents.. Not that a terrible accident caused by cracks could have been avoided but sometimes humans crack too ! look at

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