A Supramax bulker, property of Gearbulk (Norwegian dry bulk specialist) capsized off Vung Tau, Vietnam, resulting in two victims and the potential death of the rest 16 of its crew members with only one seafarer surviving (ship’s chef) as of now.
One of the bodies, already recovered, is the captain of the bulker.
According to a statement given by Gearbulk, the Bulk Jupiter issued distress calls at 22:54 UTC on the 1st of January in position lat 9".01' 01:001N, long 109" 15' 26.01E. The Supramax bulker capsized 150 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast.
At the time, the ship’s crew consisted of 19 seafarers, all Filipinos.
“Numerous attempts to contact the ship on all available communication channels have failed,” said Gearbulk.
The distress signal was received by the Japanese Coast Guard and it immediately started search and rescue operations. Lifeboats and life rats have been found, unfortunately, all of them being empty.
OLNG Muttrah, a tug boat, managed to rescue the one surviving sailor in the area. Additionally two bodies were recovered, with one of them being that of the master. The remaining 16 seafarers are still missing.
The operation regarding the search and rescue of the crew, led by the Vietnam Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Vung Tao, is still ongoing.
Family and relatives of the missing crew members have been notified and a family center has been designated in Manila.
P&I clubs and BIMCO have issued numerous warnings on previous occasions regarding the liquefaction risks of bauxite cargoes. This type of cargo it believed to pose hazards as it adds to the ship’s weight.
“Bauxite cargoes pose a risk to vessels despite being listed in the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC) as a low-risk 'Group C' cargo,” according to the North of England P&I Club.