2016-built VLOC Stellar Banner, owned by South Korea’s Polaris Shipping, has run aground off the Brazilian coast after leaving Vale’s Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal in the state of Maranhao.
Brazilian miner Vale confirmed the incident, revealing that the crew of 20 were evacuated from the fully laden ship, which is currently located around 100 km off the Brazilian coast.
According to local reports, the ship’s captain manoeuvred the vessel to run aground on a sand bank after it started taking on water. A spokesperson for Polaris Shipping told Splash that the four-year-old giant bulker made contact with an unidentified shallow sea bed after departing Ponta Da Madeira with some ballast water tanks and void space suffering damage.
“All cargo holds are believed to be intact and the situation is under control. In order to assess damage and secure its own safety, the vessel shifted to a safer area,” a spokesperson for Polaris said.
Proper inspections will be carried out by class and underwriter surveyors and a salvage company has been arranged to handle the situation.
Marine Traffic data shows the vessel was headed for Qingdao in China, and various reports say the ship had around 275,000 tons of iron ore loaded.
For Polaris Shipping, the incident comes just days after it was found guilty of failing to report defects on converted VLOC Stellar Daisy which sunk in the south Atlantic in 2017 leading to the loss of 22 lives. Kim Wan-Jung, the CEO of Polaris, was also found guilty of not reporting the vessel defects and handed a year’s probation. The shipping line was also given a KRW15m ($12,426) fine. In the wake of the Stellar Daisy sinking, defects were also found on other Polaris vessels.
#MarineTraffic past track video shows the last movements of Polaris bulker #STELLARBANNER before running aground off Brazil yesterday evening. All crew members evacuated. https://t.co/aBIJ9ZqjyQ pic.twitter.com/SGdfMUXKPr
— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) February 27, 2020