South Korea-based Polaris Shipping made 22 unauthorized modifications to Stellar Eagle’s cargo hold structure, a special ship inspection conducted by the South Korean Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries has found.
Stellar Eagle (IMO 9044229) was converted from a tanker to an ore carrier, as was Stellar Daisy, which sank in March 2017, resulting in the deaths of 22 of the 24 crew members on board.
A hull crack in Stellar Daisy caused the ore carrier to sink. A few days after this, Polaris Shipping confirmed that another of the firm’s vessels had reported a crack on the outer hull of a tank. The company then launched an inspection of all its operating vessels.
All alterations were completed on March 25th. The ministry said that it would be inspecting other vessels of the type that had been converted to check for similar faults.
The ministry has inspected 28 ships linked to Polaris Shipping so far. All of the converted vessels were investigated by the Korean and Lloyd’s Registers and confirmed for seaworthiness.
Stellar Daisy was carrying eight South Korean and 16 Filipino crew when it sank in the South Atlantic, some 3,700 km off Uruguay. Two Filipino sailors were rescued on April 1 but the others remain missing presumed dead.
1993-built, Panama-flagged, 154,759 gt Stellar Eagle is owned by VP-16 Shipping Inc care of manager Polaris Shipping Co Ltd of Seoul, South Korea. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (Smuab) (Eastern Syndicate) on behalf of VP-16 Shipping Inc.