One of the world’s largest bulk carriers and a sister vessel to the ill-fated Stellar Daisy is adrift off the coast of Brazil after a fire knocked out power to the vessel more than four days ago.
The 1994-built Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) Stellar Samba has been disabled since May 26 after a fire in its engine room. Crew members were able to extinguish the fire and no injuries were reported, but the vessel remains without propulsion and adrift some 100 miles off São Luís, Brazil.
Stellar Samba’s manager, South Korea’s Polaris Shipping, has reportedly sent a tug to standby as crews continue to work on restoring power to the vessel. The tug was expected to arrive on scene May 30 and could tow the vessel to port if needed.
A Brazilian navy ship has also been sent to the scene.
AIS ship tracking data shows the Stellar Samba is in ballast and sailing from China to Ponta de Madeira in Brazil.
Stellar Samba is part of Polaris Shipping’s fleet of former crude tankers that were converted to so-called Very Large Ore Carriers, or VLOCs, in the mid to late 2000s.
Stellar Samba’s sister vessel, Stellar Daisy went missing in the South Atlantic in March 2017 during a voyage from Brazil to China with 260,000 metric tons of iron ore. The sinking claimed the lives of 22 crew members, leaving only two survivors.
Following the loss, Polaris Shipping had each of its converted VLOCs undergo a structural inspection which revealed cracks in the hulls of two sister vessels.
The cause of the Stellar Daisy sinking has not yet been officially determined.