AsiaDry Cargo

Polaris fined $12,426 for Stellar Daisy sinking, families vow to fight on

The families of the victims of the Stellar Daisy disaster are not giving up in their pursuit of justice. Despite the sunken ship’s owner last week being found guilty for failing to report the converted bulk carrier’s defects, prosecutors will seek greater punishments for those involved in one of the most high profile dry bulk casualties this century.

The Busan District Prosecutors’ Office has announced that it will appeal to a higher court regarding the sinking the Polaris Shipping-owned very large ore carrier (VLOC), which went down in the south Atlantic nearly three years ago with the loss of 22 lives.

Korean prosecutors had demanded four years of imprisonment for Kim Wan-Jung, the 64-year-old CEO of Polaris, for not reporting the defects of the ship to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, as required by local laws, which were updated in the wake of the sinking of the Sewol ferry six years ago with the loss of 326 lives. In the event, a judgement last week ruled that Kim was guilty of not reporting the vessel defects, but not guilty in terms of keeping the ship well maintained. Kim was handed a year’s probation sentence. The shipping line was also given a KRW15m ($12,426) fine.

Families of the victims expressed their frustration and disappointment about the court’s light punishment for the accused at a press conference last week.

Polaris has been going through a significant fleet rejuvenation process recently, offloading its oldest very large ore carriers for scrap and ordering a new batch of bulkers, primarily for long term charter with Brazilian miner Vale.

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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.
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