Near complete Brazilian tanker newbuild sinks at pier

An unfortunate tanker newbuild, named after a Brazilian nun, whose ownership has never been consecrated, is now sitting on the sea floor just outside Rio de Janeiro.

The Panamax-sized product tanker, Irmã Dulce, sank by stern at the pier of the Estaleiro Maua shipyard yesterday after water ingress was reported in the ship’s engine room. Its stern is now stuck on the seabed in depths of around 4 m.

The ship was the second in a series of four ordered by Transpetro. It was launched in 2014, but the following year the owner scrapped the contract for the ship and two of the others in the series.

The tanker orphan was 95% complete before yesterday’s accident with European shipping database, Equasis, suggesting it was due for delivery in October.

Divers have been dispatched to check for damage and the ship is understood to have been stabilised.

Irmã Dulce, who died in 1992, was formally canonised in October last year, making her the first Brazilian female saint.

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. That doesn’t amazing. Brazilians are good dancers, but bad sailors. Once time I had a chance to take over a 5 years vessel (owned by a German company) after 3 years of Brazilian time charter and Brazilian crew. The ship’s condition was terrible. Most of ship’s equipment were in poor condition and broken. Zero maintenance for all 3 years.

  2. Commissioning of the new built or any ship after shipyard/drydocking requires good planning, special precautions and thinking at least two steps ahead. Unfortunately this is an attribute of only the proactive managers.

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