Inspectors Find "Unauthorized Modifications" on Polaris Bulker

The VLCC-to-VLOC conversion Stellar Daisy, which sank on March 31, 2017 (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 03-26-2018 02:04:00

South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries reports that the Stellar Eagle, a tanker-to-ore carrier conversion belonging to Polaris Shipping, was found to have 22 "unauthorized modifications" during an inspection at Rizhao, China. Polaris has been ordered to send the Eagle to a shipyard to correct the unsanctioned work. 

It is not the Eagle's only recent run-in with inspectors. According to Equasis, port state control officials at Zhanjiang, China identified eight deficiencies aboard the vessel last year, including issues with the watertightness of her hatches and ventilation system.  

Polaris Shipping was also the owner of the ill-fated Stellar Daisy, another 1990s-era VLOC conversion that broke up and sank in March 2017. The accident claimed 22 lives and drew scrutiny to the seaworthiness of the firm's fleet of repurposed tankers. Inspections of other vessels in the same class found evidence of structural damage on at least two additional ships, the Stellar Unicorn and Stellar Queen.

Several of these vessels have been scrapped, but others continue to trade, including the Stellar Queen. Hyundai Heavy Industries signed two agreements with Polaris last year for a total of 15 new very large ore carriers, which will offset the retirement of the aging conversions. 

Polaris says that maintenance and safe operation is the cornerstone of its service. The loss of the Daisy is not included in its online official history.