Two crew members were rescued and 22 died after the South Korean ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 226,141dwt, sank in the South Atlantic on Mar 31.
The Marshall Islands-registered Stellar Daisy, with a crew of eight Filipinos and 16 South Koreans, had sailed from Guaiba, Brazil, for China with 260,003 tons of iron ore and she sank in deep water some 1,700 miles east of Montevideo.
The ship’s owners, Polaris Shipping, of South Korea, received a text message from a member of the crew shortly before the ship sank reporting that she was taking on water and listing rapidly. A Brazilian military aircraft, four merchant ships and an Argentinian Navy ship responded to the call from the Uruguay authorities for help in finding the ship and her crew. Polaris Shipping also diverted three of their own ore carriers to the search area.
The Uruguay Navy said the first ship on the scene reported fuel, debris, two empty lifeboats, liferafts and found the two Filipino survivors on a liferaft. The survivors told the authorities that the hull cracked before the ship went down. The start of the second week saw eight ships and two aircraft in the search operations which were being coordinated by Uruguay’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).
On Apr 8, one of the searching ships found two lifevests and several thermal suits, but no trace of survivors.
The owners had also launched a special programme for the immediate inspection of all 19 of its converted VLOCs, which all began their lives in the 1990s as oil tankers. The review found that the ore carrier Stellar Cosmo, one of the company’s ships involved in the search, needed repairs and had left for Cape Town and that there was cracking on the Stellar Unicorn, which had also headed to Cape Town for repairs.