Ore carrier Stellar Banner scuttled following refloating

Stellar Banner during refloating operations off Brazil (Photo: Brazilian Navy)

The Marshall Islands-flagged very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Banner has been scuttled in the Atlantic Ocean following recently completed cargo removal, debunkering, and refloating operations.

Authorities, class inspectors, and South Korean shipowner Polaris Shipping had deemed scuttling to be the most practical option after an assessment of the hull revealed excessive damage that had been caused by a deliberate grounding intended to prevent the 340-metre vessel from sinking.

Class inspectors said the damage from the grounding had rendered the vessel a total constructive loss.

The scuttling was carried out some 150 kilometres off the coast of the state of Maranhão. The Brazilian Navy assured reporters that whatever cargo that remains in the holds is minimal and would not have any adverse effect on the surrounding marine environment.

Stellar Banner‘s bow had struck a shallow area shortly after the vessel’s departure from northern Brazil’s Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal on February 24. The captain then deliberately grounded the VLOC to prevent it from sinking further into the waters off the terminal.

The vessel’s entire crew were safely evacuated shortly after the grounding.

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