Sailor Dies, 3 Injured on Bulker in Atlantic Storm

sailor dies other injured in Atlantic storm
(file photo)

Published Feb 3, 2021 3:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

The recent Nor’easter that pummeled the Atlantic Coast with record snowfalls is also being blamed for the death of one seafarer and injuring three others aboard a bulk carrier that found itself caught in the developing storm.

The 39,000 dwt vessel the Giulia I, owned by VSL Dry Bulk Limited (Malta), a subsidiary of Venice Shipping and Logistics S.p.A, departed Norfolk, Virginia on January 26 on an Atlantic crossing bound for Tunisia. The ship, however, found herself in the brewing Atlantic storm reporting high seas and strong winds as the storm began to build offshore. 

The storm made for a rough ride for the 20 Filipino crewmembers onboard. Just after 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, January 30, the Giulia I issued a distress call. The master reported that the ship had been hit by a large wave approximately 320 nautical miles southeast of Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Details of the accident were not provided only that a 30-year-old sailor died of the injuries he sustained while three others from the crew suffered injuries. The vessel diverted to Halifax, Canada where it arrived just after midnight on February 1. The Halifax Regional Police were on hand when the vessel arrived at the Port of Halifax and it is investigating the circumstances leading up to the death of the sailor.

Karl Risser, an inspector with the International Transport Workers Federation, spoke to CBC after meeting with the crew, which he said was “understandably shaken up,” by the accident. The ITF was working to provide the crew with assistance and seeing if Canada’s current travel restrictions might permit the crew to have shore leave.

Transport Canada said it would inspect the vessel for possible damage from the storm as well to ensure that it was properly manned before proceeding on its voyage. They also reported that they would confirm that the vessel was in compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention regarding the welfare and rights of the crew. Transport Canada has restricted the vessel from departing port pending the completion of the Port State Control compliance inspection.

Because there was a death aboard the ship, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will also be reviewing the circumstances.