The two rescued survivors of the VLOC Stellar Daisy, which apparently sank in the South Atlantic on Friday, have told their rescuers that the South Korean-owned vessel broke in two, according to Reuters and Korean news agencies. With search and rescue operations now into their fourth day, officials are not optimistic on finding any more of the 22 missing crew.
The Stellar Daisy sent a distress message to its home company Polaris Shipping in Busan shortly before going missing.
Two Filipino crewmembers were found in a life raft on Saturday by merchant ships that were first to the scene, some 1,500 miles off the Brazilian coast. Other empty lifeboats were seen along with debris and sheen.
The SOS had described water entering the port side of the huge ship which began listing fast.
A Uruguayan Navy spokesman, Gaston Jaunsolo, said the survivors described the ship splitting in two before sinking.
A Brazilian destroyer with a rescue helicopter, plus three of Polaris Shipping’s merchant ships, are expected to arrive in the vicinity on Tuesday, although hopes are now fading of finding any of the missing 22 seafarers.
The 312 m long, 58 m wide Stellar Daisy, flagged in the Marshall Islands, was carrying a cargo of iron ore from Brazil to Qingdao in China.
The cause of the apparent sinking of the 24-year-old vessel is not yet known but conditions had raised no red flags. Uruguayan Navy spokesman Jaunsolo said: “It was not a complicated day for navigation.”
Brazilian miner Vale said on Monday that 260,000 tonnes of fine iron ore on the doomed ship had been insured.
Vale said in an email that the cargo, which belonged to the Brazilian miner, was bound for China for storage and blending when the ship operated by South Korea’s Polaris Shipping, Stellar Daisy, sank off Uruguay’s coast.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Marshall Islands flag told Splash today that an investigating officer has been assigned to commence the investigation.