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Search efforts continue as 22 feared dead from VLOC sinking

The search continued on Sunday for survivors of the very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy which is believed to have sunk in the South Atlantic.

The Uruguayan navy reports that one of the two saved seafarers has described how the ship took on water and was breaking up. It capsized very quickly after the water ingress was first reported. Experts are suggesting the water ingress caused liquefaction of the cargo, with the iron ore then shifting suddenly. Attention is also turning to the fact that the 1993-built vessel was a VLCC originally before being converted by its Korean owner.

Twenty two of the 24-man crew were still missing after the South Korean-owned vessel apparently went down about 1,500 miles off Uruguay.

Two Filipino crewmen in a life raft were found on Saturday by commercial ships which were the first to reach the scene. The crew of the Stellar Daisy comprises 16 Filipinos and eight Koreans.

On Sunday a Brazilian Air Force KC-130 joined the effort, flying over the area where the huge ship is believed to have gone down.

A Uruguayan Navy statement relayed merchant ship reports of visible debris and oil sheen as well as a strong smell of petroleum.

Empty lifeboats have also been seen.

The 312m-long Stellar Daisy, owned by Polaris Shipping of Busan, was en route from Brazil to China with a cargo of iron ore when a crew member sent a distress signal to the home company on Friday saying that the vessel was taking on water on the port side and listing rapidly.

South Korean authorities have requested assistance from the Brazil and Uruguay governments and say that more search and rescue assets should be arriving in the target area by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.


  1. I’ve heard that there are apparently almost 60 VLOCs built between 1985-95, almost all of which are single-skinned tankers converted in China between 2007-09.

    Believe Polaris is the biggest owner in the world of these types of vessels.

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