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VLCC's Chief Mate and Bosun Killed by Wave off Cape Horn

cape horn
Swells in Drake Passage (file image courtesy Christopher Michaels / CC BY SA 3.0)

Published Sep 15, 2021 9:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, the ship management division of Stena confirmed that two tanker crewmembers were killed by a large wave off Cape Horn last weekend. 

On Saturday, as the Euronav-owned oil tanker Arafura was rounding Cape Horn, en route to Long Beach from Brazil, she ran into rough weather and heavy waves. An alarm went off towards the bow, and the chief officer and the bosun went to attend to it. During the evolution, they were struck by a large wave and killed. 

An investigation into the incident is under way, according to Stena subsidiary Northern Marine Management, the ship's manager. 

In order to properly handle the remains of the two crewmembers and give the crew some respite, the Arafura has diverted to Valparaiso. Northern Marine is in talks with local authorities to arrange for crew changes if possible, along with repatriation of the two bodies.

“The safety and wellbeing of all of our colleagues at sea is our number one priority for both owners and managers and a full and thorough investigation into this incident will be carried out to establish the root cause," Northern Marine said in a statement. "Every sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to the families from both Northern Marine and the vessel's owners, Euronav."

AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that the Arafura passed through the Le Maire Strait at about 0100 on September 10, making about 17 knots. As she headed southwest towards Cape Horn, she gradually slowed to five knots; after rounding the Horn on the morning of the 11th, she briefly slowed to a drifting speed of 1.5 knots, then diverted to a position close to shore. As of Thursday, she was off Puerto Montt, heading north towards Valparaiso. 

Top image: Swells in Drake Passage (file image courtesy Christopher Michaels / CC BY SA 3.0)