On February 27, the 38 foot tugboat Nova sank on the Columbia River near Umatilla, Oregon. The Nova had broken from its mooring by high winds and drifted nearly a mile before it sank just upriver of the McNary Dam. Authorities were alerted and dispatched a response team to the scene.
State and Federal authorities found where the Nova had sunk. Divers inspected the wreck and found a 1 meter gash in the hull. Fuel vents were closed, but the Nova had already released oil pollution into the water. A light sheen was visible above the sunken tug. Booms and absorbent pads were used to contain the pollution.
Reports state a barge and crane was dispatched to lift the tug from the river bottom. The Nova was later recovered a few days later and taken to Vancouver. No reports of injuries as no one was on board the Nova at the time of the incident.
On February 27, the 72 meter long cargo vessel Dede and the 88 meter long, 3735 dwt cargo vessel Clavigo ran aground in the Sea of Marmara off Tuzla, Turkey. The Clavigo had been at anchor when a storm with strong winds struck the area. The Clavigo‘s anchor to drag and the cargo vessel drifted towards shore when it struck the anchored Dede breaking its mooring. Both vessel drifted until they crashed against a breakwater near Tuzla.
The Dede, severely damaged by the allision, partially capsized on its starboard side suffering water ingress in the cargo holds. Its hull has multiple large gashes. The Clavigo sustained some hull damage with it a list on its starboard side. Both crews were safely rescued. No reports of injuries the 13 person on board.
Authorities state some pollution has been released by both vessels. Reports state fuel tanks have been ruptured when the cargo vessels ran aground. The Dede may not be salvaged, but scrapped on site whereas the Clavigo will be recovered.
On February 24, the 340 meter long, 300,660 dwt bulk ore carrier Stellar Banner ran aground in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maranhão, Brasil. The 4 year old ore carrier had departed from the Vale terminal Ponta da Madeira in São Luís, Brasil loaded with iron ore bound for Qingado, China. The Stellar Banner only traveled a short distance when vessel developed a sharp list to starboard. An inspection by the crew found the ore carrier had hull cracks and water ingress into the cargo holds. The crew alerted authorities who dispatched multiple tugs to the scene. As the list increased on the vessel, the master of the Stellar Banner decided to run the ore carrier aground rather than risk it sinking. The Stellar Banner was later ran aground on a sandbar some 100 kilometers offshore. The 20 crew on board were evacuated off the Stellar Banner. No reports of injuries.
Authorities state an oil sheen was seen around the hull of the Stellar Banner. A response vessel was dispatched to manage the released pollution. Vessel owners, port authorities and the Navy have teams in the area trying to develop a salvage plan. No details yet reported if the Stellar Banner can be salvaged without the iron ore cargo being lightered beforehand. Some reports state there is additional hull damage near the bow suggesting that the vessel may have struck bottom or an object when it left port.
This isn’t the first VLOC, very large ore carrier, to sustain hull failure after cargo loading. In 2011, the Vale Beijing sustained cracks in the ship’s ballast tanks. The Stellar Unicorn and Stellar Queen also sustained hull cracks. The VLOC Stellar Daisy foundered in March 2017 with the lost of all hands possibly due to improper cargo handling.