Brazilian Authorities Rush to Prevent Potential Spill from Listing Stellar Banner

Following the listing of the giant ore carrier MV Stellar Banner off the coast of São Luís, in northeastern Brazil, the relevant companies and authorities are scrambling to avoid a potential environmental disaster.

Based on the latest information from the Brazilian Navy, dated February 27, there have been no fuel oil leaks confirmed until now.

The naval authorities met yesterday with Brazilian miner giant Vale SA, Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), salvage company Ardent Global, Environmental Management of Port of Itaqui and other relevant stakeholders to assess the situation.

Vale requested from compatriot oil major Petrobras to dispatch oil spill recovery vessels to the site to contain potential oil spills. As informed, the request was promptly met.

The company has also requested that salvage specialists be hired in addition to Ardent Global, contracted by the owner of the vessel, Polaris Shipping, to remove the ship’s fuel oil and prevent potential pollution.

Ibama has been asked to displace response ships and other containment equipment off the coast of Maranhão.

Ardent Global remains on site carrying out an inspection of the structural conditions of the ship and has four tugs for support and response, in case of cargo or fuel oil leaks, the navy said.

The navy has dispatched Buoy/Lighthouse Vessel Garnier Sampaio and ocean support vessel Iguatemi to the site and an aircraft was also set to overfly the ship to assess the situation with the ultimate aim being the removal of the stricken ship from the area.

The vessel is stranded about 100 kilometers from the coast of São Luís (MA), outside the access channel of the Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal, from where it left on February 24.

The 20 crew members were evacuated from the ship, Vale said earlier.

World Maritime News Staff

Vale: 20 Evacuated after Giant Iron Ore Ship

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 São 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




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