A giant VLOC, 2016-built Stellar Banner, with a deadweight of 300,000 tonnes and owned by South Korea’s Polaris Shipping, has run aground off the Brazilian coast after leaving Vale’s Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal in the state of Maranhao.
The ship, began developing a severe list to starboard Tuesday evening around 9:30 p.m. local time.
AIS ship tracking data shows the ship departed Madeira on February 24, bound for Qingdao, China.
Brazilian miner Vale confirmed the incident, revealing that the crew of 20 were evacuated from the fully laden ship, which is currently located around 100 km off the Brazilian coast.
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.
“All cargo holds are believed to be intact and the situation is under control. In order to assess damage and secure its own safety, the vessel shifted to a safer area,” a spokesperson for Polaris said.