Polaris Shipping, the world’s largest VLOC owner, is now carrying out inspections on all its fleet in the wake of the likely sinking of the Stellar Daisy and a crack appearing on another 1993-built vessel, Stellar Unicorn. Eleven days since the Stellar Daisy was first reported missing, a multinational coalition of naval and merchant vessels continue to scour the South Atlantic for the giant 266,000 dwt converted VLCC. Just two of the 24-crew have been found alive so far.
Meanwhile, repairs are ongoing off Cape Town on the Stellar Unicorn after a 15 cm crack was discovered on the outer hull of a starboard tank. Due to inclement weather the repairs are expected to take until Thursday to complete at which point the ship will continue with its cargo of Brazilian iron ore bound for China.
Last week a Korean seafarers union questioned whether Polaris Shipping’s fleet is fit for purpose and suggested tankers that have been converted into bulkers are dangerous.
The Federation of Korean Seafarer’s Unions (FKSU) has issued a statement blasting the owner, Polaris, as well as urging the Korean government to take steps to ensure the disaster does not happen again.
The federation noted that of Polaris’s 32 bulkers, 19 were tanker conversions.
“We can’t help but think that it is possible for similar accidents to happen in future,” the statement read.