A giant VLOC loaded with iron ore has run into trouble off the coast of Brazil.
The ship, Stellar Banner, began developing a severe list to starboard Tuesday evening around 9:30 p.m. local time after departing the Vale-owned Ponta da Madeira terminal in São Luís, Brazil. The vessel is now apparently also aground.
AIS ship tracking data shows the ship departed Madeira on February 24, bound for Qingdao, China.
The Marshall Islands-flagged Stellar Banner, with a deadweight of 300,000 tonnes, was built in 2016 and is owned and operated by Polaris Shipping of South Korea. It is chartered by the Brazilian mining company Vale.
Vale said it was informed that vessel suffered damage to its bow shortly after leaving the terminal and the Captain intentionally grounded the vessel to save it from capsizing or maybe sinking.
All 20 crew members were evacuated from the ship as a precaution and there are no injuries or deaths reported.
Global salvage firm Ardent has been hired to draw up salvage plans, which could become extremely complex given the size of the ship and how much cargo it is carrying.
As of now, the exact cause of the incident is still under investigation, but Vale says it was told the vessel may have struck something – most likely the shallow seabed as it left the port.
Vale released the statement below regarding the incident:
Vale S.A. (“Vale”) informs that it was made aware by the operator of the vessel MV Stellar Banner that the vessel suffered damage in the bow after leaving the Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal, on Monday night (24), outside the port access channel. It was also reported to Vale that, as a precautionary measure, the 20 crew members were safely evacuated and that the vessel’s captain agrounded the vessel about 100 kilometers off the coast of São Luís. The vessel, built in 2016, is owned and operated by the South Korean company Polaris. As port operator, Vale is offering technical-operational support, sending tug boats, and collaborating with maritime authorities. Port operations remains normal, with no impact on shipments.
Some new video shows the state of the wreck on Thursday: