AsiaDry Cargo

Polaris completes clear-out of controversial converted ore carrier fleet

Polaris Shipping has completed its clear-out of its controversial vintage converted ore carriers.

Cash buyer Best Oasis reports that the Stellar Pioneer and Stellar Topaz, both of which started trading as VLCCs in 1994, have been sold as is in Malaysia. Late last month Seoul-based Polaris also sold the 1993-built Stellar Neptune to Bangladeshi recyclers as it completes its offloading of converted ore carriers.

On March 31, 2017, another Polaris converted ore carrier, the Stellar Daisy, sank in the Atlantic with the loss of 22 lives. In the following months after the sinking, a raft of safety issues were unearthed on a number of other Polaris converted ore carriers. Under pressure from key client, Brazilian miner Vale, Polaris laid up most of its vintage fleet, ordering new bulk carriers.

VLOCs were converted from single-hull very large crude carriers in previous decades as a result of the dry bulk super cycle and the IMO regulation which mandated that all single hull tankers should be phased out by 2010.

With cheap and obsolete tanker tonnage in the market, investors eyed an opportunity to convert the ships into VLOCs and deploy them on long-term contracts of affreightment, often with a duration of 10 years.

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. Is it a “clear-out” or a burial underground? ,,, Is this the final Disclaimer by all parties which are liable in the biggest catastrophic events in the history of Ore Carriers/VLOCs?
    “If you bury the truth underground, it will but grow”. (Emile Zola)…
    After more than 3.5 years since the catastrophic structural failures of Polaris VLOC “Stellar Daisy” and “Stellar Banner” and the repeated structural damages of the other Polaris VLOCs, the Maritime Industry failed again to enable the identification of the common cause of the construction failures and to determine due liabilities.
    The common cause is not other than the Regulatory and Rule omissions, mishaps, errors and inconsistencies. And those ex Polaris VLOCs that will remain in operation may grow the underground true…

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