Stellar Banner Case Study

Case Study of VLOC Stellar Banner, Everything You need to know

As you may all have heard about the news which happened at around 0000 UTC Feb 25, north of Sao Luis, Brazil.
VLOC bulk carrier STELLAR BANNER loaded with ore developed heavy starboard side list, with cargo deck partially under water.
Let us first know some general things related with this case study

What are VLOC

Very Large Ore Carriers are a special category of Bulk carriers. Due to the increasing demand for ore from the fast growing economies in Asia and the Middle-East new ships are built with a deadweight of around 400.000 tonnes.

Specifications of vessel Stellar Banner

STELLAR BANNER (IMO: 9726803) is a Ore Carrier that was built in 2016 (4 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Marshall Is.
It’s carrying capacity is 300660 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 21.5 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 340 meters and her width is 55 meters.
Ore Carrier STELLAR BANNER is currently located at ECSA – East Coast South America at position 1° 45′ 41.731″ S, 43° 41′ 44.592″ W as reported by MarineTraffic Terrestrial Automatic Identification System on 2020-03-22 13:38 UTC (6 minutes ago)
The wind in this area at that time blows from Southeast direction at force 1 Beaufort.
The vessel departed from PONTA DA MADEIRA, BR on 2020-02-24 15:06 LT (UTC -3) and is currently sailing at 0 knots with West direction heading to QINGDAO, CN with reported Estimated Time of Arrival at 2020-04-05 15:00 LT (UTC -3) local time (in 14 days, 4 hours )

What happened on 24 and 25th February 2020?

The ship, Stellar Banner, began developing a severe list to starboard 24 February 2020  eveningaround 9:30 p.m. local time after departing the Vale-owned Ponta da Madeira terminal in São Luís, Brazil. The vessel is now apparently also aground.
AIS ship tracking data shows the ship departed Madeira on February 24, bound for Qingdao, China.
Vale said it was informed that vessel suffered damage to its bow shortly after leaving the terminal and the Captain intentionally grounded the vessel to save it from capsizing or maybe sinking.
All 20 crew members were evacuated from the ship as a precaution and there are no injuries or deaths reported.

Actions taken After the Incident of Stellar Banner

On February 27, 2020

Following the listing of the giant ore carrier MV Stellar Banner off the coast of São Luís, in northeastern Brazil, the relevant companies and authorities are scrambling to avoid a potential environmental disaster.
Based on the latest information from the Brazilian Navy, dated February 27, there have been no fuel oil leaks confirmed until now.
The naval authorities met yesterday with Brazilian miner giant Vale SA, Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), salvage company Ardent Global, Environmental Management of Port of Itaqui and other relevant stakeholders to assess the situation.
Vale requested from compatriot oil major Petrobras to dispatch oil spill recovery vessels to the site to contain potential oil spills. As informed, the request was promptly met.
The company has also requested that salvage specialists be hired in addition to Ardent Global, contracted by the owner of the vessel, Polaris Shipping, to remove the ship’s fuel oil and prevent potential pollution.
Ibama has been asked to displace response ships and other containment equipment off the coast of Maranhão.
Ardent Global remains on site carrying out an inspection of the structural conditions of the ship and has four tugs for support and response, in case of cargo or fuel oil leaks, the navy said.
The navy has dispatched Buoy/Lighthouse Vessel Garnier Sampaio and ocean support vessel Iguatemi to the site and an aircraft was also set to overfly the ship to assess the situation with the ultimate aim being the removal of the stricken ship from the area.

On February 29, 2020

A slight oil sheen noticed at the site is believed to be residue of “dead oil” which was on the deck; not leakage from fuel tanks. Nonetheless, in close cooperation with Vale, the company is mobilizing all available assets in Brazil to eradicate any potential risk from the oil spillage. An anti-pollution team is already on site, closely monitoring the situation. Therefore, we would like to reiterate that there is no oil leakage from the vessel. As a precautionary measure, oil fence will be installed to mitigate potential risk of oil pollution.
Two oil spill recovery vessels (OSRVs) mobilized with support from Brazilian oil major Petrobras arrived at the site where the MV Stellar Banner is stranded.
The OSRV vessels were requested from Petrobras with the aim of containing any oil leakage.

On March 3, 2020

The company has requested that salvage specialists be hired in addition to Ardent Global, contracted by Polaris Shipping, to remove the ship’s fuel oil and prevent potential pollution.
Ardent Global was last reported to be on site carrying out an inspection of the structural conditions of the ship, with four tugs standing by for support and response, in case of cargo or fuel oil leaks.
The colossal bulker has been surrounded by a 200 m barrier made of buoys suitable to contain oil in the sea, Vale added.
As part of preventive measures, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), has been asked to displace response ships and other containment equipment off the coast of Maranhão.

On March 10, 2020

The plan to remove fuel oil from the listing bulk carrier Stellar Banner has been approved and the operation is scheduled to be launched on March 12, according to the latest update from the Brazilian Navy.
The decision to wait for a couple of more days has been ascribed to the ongoing weather conditions at the site.
The navy said that there is a need for constant monitoring and assessment of sea conditions by the salvage companies hired for the job, those being Ardent and OceanPact, before the complex operation can start.
Final adjustments for the undertaking are said to be underway.
A navy helicopter flew over the wreck site on Monday morning, determining that there were no traces of oil and that there were no major changes to the ship’s tilting.
The fuel tanks of the giant ore carrier remain intact as they are located on the stern of the vessel, on the opposite side of the damaged area, the ship’s owner Polaris Shipping said earlier.
Several vessels are at the site providing support to the salvage operation and standing by to contain any oil leakage. These include offshore supply ship Iguatemi and Hydroceanographic Ship Garnier Sampaio, four vessels from the Port of Maranhao and several vessels with oil containment materials on board.
A helicopter and a drone with a thermal camera are also deployed to the mission.

As of now

Drainage of saltwater from one of the cargo holds of the grounded cargo ship Stellar Banner has been completed, according to the latest update from the Brazilian Navy.
Salvage company hired for the job Ardent reported that there was no change in the volume of water in the cargo holds.
The activities are part of the salvage and fuel removal operation launched last week.
The vessel remains stranded, with an inclination of 24.5º to starboard. The navy claims that according to the surveillance footage from the aircraft monitoring the area the situation remains stable and that there have been no traces of oil at the grounding site.
Brazilian mining company Vale SA is conducting bathymetric surveys and is assessing the capacity to receive the iron ore load at the incident location.
The navy added that precautionary instructions on the coronavirus have also been sent to all the ships involved in the salvage operation.
The navy has assigned 255 military personnel to support the operation. Offshore supply ship Iguatemi and Hydroceanographic Ship Garnier Sampaio, four vessels from the Port of Maranhao and five vessels with oil containment materials on board have also been dispatched to the scene together with a drone with a thermal camera.
Iguatemi is conducting surveys and collecting water samples, monitoring the situation for potential water pollution and controlling the vessel traffic in the area.
This brings the end of this Case Study, hope you all like it..

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