Port Reopens After Damaged Vale Beijing Removed from Berth

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December 6, 2011

Brazilian mining giant Vale said Tuesday that the damaged Vale Beijing, the world’s largest iron-ore carrier, has been removed from berth at Pier I at Ponta da Madeira Maritime terminal in northeastern Brazil, and towed to an anchorage area.

The Vale Beijing was discovered to have a ruptured hull and cracks in the ships ballast tanks after being loaded with 384,300 tonnes of ore destined for Rotterdam.  The discovery sparked fears of the vessel sinking at berth, a potentially catastrophic scenario for the port that is responsible for about 10 percent of the world’s iron ore exports.

Vale has said little about the situation but has made it abundantly clear that responsibility for the ship lies with STX Pan Ocean, the Korean company that owns and operates the ship.

Vale’s update today also added that an estimated 750,000 metric tons of iron ore was not loaded as a result of the Pier I shutdown and that operations will be back to normal by this afternoon.

The Vale Beijing is the first in a fleet of eight similar ships that STX will operate under a $5.8 billion, 25-year deal with Vale.

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