Divers Inspecting Stellar Banner Hull for Damage

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 93
March 6, 2020
Photo: Brazilian Navy

Divers are inspecting the Stellar Banner’s hull for damage as the VLOC remains aground but in stable condition off the coast of Brazil. 

Currently there is no sign of oil or iron ore leakage from the vessel, the Brazilian Navy in its latest update.

Experts have determined from preliminary reports that the impacted portion of the Stellar Banner has an approximate length of 25 meters near the starboard bow. Divers are still determining the extent of damage to the ship’s hull and any flooded compartments.

The Navy reported that there are now 255 military personnel working on the response, two government vessels, one aircraft, and four vessels from the Port of Maranhão. Two Petrobras oil spill response vessels are also standing by.

The 300,663 dwt Stellar Banner ran aground approximately 100km from coast of São Luís on February 24, 2020 as it departed Vale’s Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal with iron ore bound for China. 

Vale reported that based on reports from the shipowner, Polaris Shipping, the vessel suffered damage to its bow in the shipping channel as it departed and the vessel was grounded to prevent it from sinking. 

All 20 crew members were subsequently evacuated in good condition. 

The MV Stellar Banner is a Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) built in 2016 and registered in the Marshall Islands. It is owned and operated by Polaris Shipping of South Korea and chartered to Brazilian mining giant Vale to transport iron ore from Brazil to China.

An estimated 3,500 tons of fuel oil and 140 tons of gas oil remain on board, Polaris said in an update earlier this week.  

Ardent Global has been appointed the salvor in the operation and has submitted a plan for de-bunkering the vessel.  

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