A Marshall Islands investigation has concluded that a ‘catastrophic structural failure’ of the hull caused the sinking of the very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Daisy.
The vessek sank in the South Atlantic on 31 March 2017 whilst on passage from Brazil to China, killing 22 crew.
The report found that the possible direct cause of Stellar Daisy foundering was a rapid list to port after the structural failure, which caused the ship to lose its buoyancy and then flood uncontrollably.
The flooding started in the No 2 port water ballast tank (WBT) and progressed quickly to create further structural failures and flooding in multiple WBTs, voids and cargo holds.
Other factors – including long-term material fatigue, corrosion, and structural defects – were cited as contributing factors.
The report also blames ineffective assessments of structural damage when the ship was in drydock in 2011, 2012, and 2015.
Classification society Korean Register (KR) has, though, defended the 2011 failure analysis saying: “The report correctly states that a failure analysis of the damage to the transverse bulkhead at frame No 65 was conducted as it was determined by the attending surveyor to be ‘out of the ordinary’ and similar damage was not found in other parts of the ship.
“However, the cracks/defects identified and repaired at the time of dry-docking in 2011 were determined to be those typically found onboard ships of a similar age.”