STX Pan Ocean has decided to attempt the repair of the damaged Vale Beijing without unloading the iron ore cargo on board, according to Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico.
According to “sources close to STX”, the intention is to tow the VLOC to the mouth of the Pará River or to Fortaleza, pending permission from local authorities. In either case, the conditions would be more favorable than at the São Marcos Bay, where the ship has been at anchor since Tuesday (6).
STX reportedly managed to keep the ingress of water into the ballast tanks no.7 port and starboard, but is still in the dark about the causes of the incident.
In a further setback for the group, the damaged Vale Beijing, which is the world’s largest iron ore carrier, was towed on Tuesday from its berth in Brazil for repairs, raising potential safety worries about the mega-ships.
The ship, delivered in September to its owner and operator, South Korea’s STX Pan Ocean, is longer and wider than three soccer fields. It was about to start its first fully loaded voyage, a planned run to Rotterdam.
“Vale Beijing belongs to STX. It is an STX project, so we are awaiting their appraisal. The other ships have nothing to do with this. They are the same size but they are different projects. They are different,” Martins said.
“Now we are waiting … I am not minimising this, it is very serious and we are really concerned. But we need to wait for the conclusions. Everything we say now is speculation.”
Martins said he hoped the ship classification society [Det Norske Veritas] would have “a good explanation” for the damaged vessel.
He added that he was confident about the seaworthiness of other mega-ships already in service.
“Vale Brasil is now on its fifth voyage, and we have Vale Rio de Janeiro, Vale Italia. All those ships are already berthing, loading without a problem,” he said.
For the full article, please go to http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/07/vale-shipping-ironore-idUSL5E7N747Y20111207