The Uruguayan Navy announced a new search area for the missing crew of the Stellar Daisy which sank on March 31. The new search area has been designated after remnants of the bulk carrier indicate that a last, missing liferaft may be in another location than the area searched so far.
Six vessels are conducting the search, and currently weather conditions are good.
The Stellar Daisy sank in the Atlantic Ocean about 2,000 nautical miles from the Port of Montevideo with 24 crew members on board. So far, only two have been rescued.
The bulk carrier was a converted tanker, and reports indicate the ship split in half following a hull crack which caused the cargo to shift. Polaris Shipping, the South Korean owner of the vessel, confirmed that another of its vessels, Stellar Unicorn, reported a crack on the outer hull of a tank. The vessel has now been sent for repairs, and a fleet inspection program has been initiated.
Stellar Daisy was a single-deck capesize very large ore carrier (VLOC) with an overall length of 321.95 meters (1,056 feet). Fully laden, the vessel drew 20.326 meters (66 feet) of water and had a deadweight tonnage of 266,141 tons. She had 10 cargo holds.
Industry body Intercargo reports that from January 1 to 11 April 11, 2017 there were 79 bulk carrier incidents reported in media channels. The organization has issued a statement saying it is deeply concerned at the tragic loss of the Stellar Daisy.
“Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the seafarers. As long as there is still hope, our wishes are for the missing officers and crew to be found and the loss of life in this sad event to be minimized.”
Intercargo also praised the search and rescue (SAR) efforts but said that the shipping community should be concerned about the non-availability of sufficient SAR capabilities in the vicinity of busy shipping lanes around the world.
The timeliness of investigations into losses such as the Stellar Daisy are also a concern to Intercargo. “Intercargo encourages the flag state and all stakeholders (e.g. classification society and P&I Club) involved in this regretful event to be mobilized swiftly and cooperate fully, in order to submit as quickly as possible to IMO a thorough and quality report investigating its causes. Lessons need to be learnt promptly after maritime casualties.
“Intercargo stresses the importance of timely submission of the casualty investigation report to IMO, as a means to identify the causes of the incident and enable corrective actions to be taken. To this end, and given its commitment to the safety of crews and ships as its top priority, Intercargo engages itself in making full use of such a report outcome in the industry fora where it participates and in its capacity as the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners.”