The Brazilian authorities have decided to sink the 2016-built very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Banner off the coast of Maranhao. The giant ship has just been declared a total constructive loss and will trigger a sizeable insurance claim.
The ship, carrying iron ore to China, ran aground off the Brazilian coast at the end of February as the ship’s captain manoeuvered the bulk carrier onto a sand bank after it started taking on water.
The ship was refloated last week after the removal of around 145,000 tonnes of iron ore and 3,900 cu m of oil.
The Brazilian navy maintained that part of the cargo, which will remain on the ship, does not pose risks to marine life and human life. Several vessels including an AHTS, an oil spill response ship, offshore support vessels and patrol ships have been deployed to monitor the whole sinking process.
A recent inspection found the ship hull suffered about 25 m of breach but no oil leak. The remaining oil on the ship will be removed before the sinking of the vessel.
The federal police has started investigations for possible environmental crimes relating to the ship accident.