Twenty crew members of the iron ore ship MV Stellar Banner were evacuated after the colossal bulker experienced bow damage and started listing heavily.
The incident occurred while the ship was leaving Ponta de Madeira port terminal in the northern Brazilian state of Maranhao, on Monday night, February 24, Brazilian miner Vale informed.
The vessel was heading for Qingdao, China, loaded with 275,000 tonnes of iron ore when it got disabled.
The 2016-built bulker is owned and operated by the South Korean shipping company Polaris Shipping.
“It was also reported to Vale that, as a precautionary measure, the 20 crew members were safely evacuated and that the ship’s captain adopted a grounding maneuver about 100 kilometers off the coast of S?o Luís,” Vale said in a statement.
The operation at the port continues as normal, with no impact on the iron ore shipments, the company added.
Vale as the port operator has dispatched technical-operational support including tugs to the site and is collaborating with maritime authorities to assist the stricken vessel.
The footage provided to our news desk by the Brazilian Navy shows that the ship is experiencing water ingress and is in danger of sinking. The VLOC is listing heavily to its starboard.
Brazilian Navy said that it had dispatched four ships to the site to determine the state of the vessel and provide assistance. Initial information indicates that the ship had two leaks in its bow.
It has been informed that Ardent Global has been hired for the salvage of the vessel by the ship’s owner.
In addition, a tugboat with a containment boom and other related equipment was sent to the vessel to contain possible environmental damage by potential fuel leakage.
The cause of the capsizing is yet to be determined.
World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Brazilian Navy