Lacking port entry permits into China, Vale had to come up with other options to unload it’s massive 400,000 ton ore-carrying ships.
Enter the 280,815 deadweight tonne Ore Fabrica, previously known as the crude oil tanker, Front Duchess.
This vessel was converted by China State Shipbuilding Corporation from the crude oil tanker pictured above, to a specially designed platform based in the Philippines that will allow the transshipment of iron ore from these giant ore carriers, to smaller vessels for follow-on transport to China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
The first of these transshipment loads will commence in early February with the arrival of the Vale Brazil and Vale China in Subic Bay.
Citing safety concerns after the VLOC Vale Beijing experienced structural issues in Brazil, China has yet to approve port-entry permits. Safety concerns aside however, politics and family connections appear to play an important role in this developing drama as the 388,000 DWT Berge Everest was allowed to unload her Brazilian cargo of ore in Dalian recently. According to the South China Morning Post,
The Berge Everest, despite being on long-term charter to Vale, is owned by Berge Bulk an offshoot of Singapore-based BW Maritime that is controlled by the Sohmen family, the descendants of the late mainland-born shipping magnate Pao Yue-kong.
This video depicts the arrival of Vale Rio de Janeiro at the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands, and was featured on the Dutch channel RTL 4.
Vale Rio de Janeiro is one of 19 Valemax vessels, the largest ore carriers in the world.