Bulker Runs Aground on Coral Shoal North of Jakarta

Undated file image of the Asia Pearl IV at anchor (file image courtesy AMP)

Published May 12, 2020 12:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

Early this month, the Singapore-flagged bulker Asia Pearl IV went aground near Mendanau Island in Indonesia's Bangka Belitung Islands, about 200 nm north of Jakarta. Officials believe that human error was the cause of the grounding, and salvage plans are under way.

The vessel is carrying 30,000 tonnes of refined sugar, according to the Tanjung Pandan Port Authoity. Her hull integrity and stability are intact, and there is no danger of capsizing, port official Fadli told Antara News. 

In the COVID-19 era, crewmember health is an important consideration during a salvage event, and the region's port health office says that the 23-member crew of the Asia Pearl IV does not show any signs of illness. A health protocol screening was administered, including temperature checks. As a precautionary measure, the crewmembers have been asked not to disembark, even though they are not symptomatic and are believed to be healthy. 

Indonesian officials say that they will conduct a dive examination to determine if there is evidence of coral reef damage. The Head of the Regional Environment Agency (DLHD) of Belitung Regency, Edi Usdianto, told local media that a joint team of government officials and researchers would revisit the site to determine the full extent of the impact. 

The location of the grounding does not interfere with the approaches to Tanjung Pandan Port, the largest port on Belitung Island, Fadli said.