Busan Coast Guard raided the South Korean shipping company Polaris Shipping on Thursday, May 25 in relation to the sinking of the ill-fated Stellar Daisy, Yonhap reports quoting a statement from the coast guard officials.
As disclosed, the raid of the company’s offices located in Seoul and Busan was aimed at collecting information that might help disclose the reason behind the sinking of the converted VLOC at the end of March this year.
The raid is part of the Coast Guard’s recently launched investigation into the incident, the aftermath of which has put into the spotlight the company’s operation of the vessel and its conversion, along with the alleged “slow reaction” to distress calls sent from the ship at the time of the sinking, among other things.
The 1993-built ship was carrying eight South Korean and sixteen Filipino sailors. Two of the sailors were rescued on April 1, while the remaining 22 crew members remain missing and are presumed dead.
Initial findings indicated that the converted ship had split in half following a hull crack that caused shifting of cargo and subsequent sinking of the bulk carrier. However, an official cause of the incident has not been provided yet.
Just a few days after the incident, Polaris Shipping confirmed that another of the firm’s vessels reported a crack on the outer hull of a tank- the 1993-built bulk carrier Stellar Unicorn, and sent it for repairs.
Cracks have also been found aboard Polaris-operated Stellar Queen, following an inspection of the ship which was conducted in Sao Luis, Brazil.
As a result, the company launched fleet-wide inspection of its ships.
Polaris Shipping is said to have agreed to provide the families of the victims with a compensation now that the on-site search has ended.
The company is yet to provide World Maritime News with a comment concerning the raid reports.
World Maritime News Staff ; Image Courtesy: Shipspotting