Owner of the sunken bulk carrier Bulk Jupiter Gearbulk said it plans to continue to allocate vessels transiting the area in the weeks to come to search through the projected drift pattern for any debris or remains.
Bulk Jupiter sank on January 1 about 150 nautical miles off the coast of Vung Tau, Vietnam, killing two crew members, with 16 still missing, and only one survivor.
According to Gearbulk, the drift pattern has now extended well into Malaysian waters, and an area with a number of offshore installations and offshore support vessels.
“Nothing further has been found to this date, and regardless of how hard it may seem we have to accept that time is working against us,” the company said in a release.
The Vietnamese Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) has scaled down their search activities.
Gearbulk requested from Malaysian MRCC to notify installations/vessels in the area to maintain a sharp lookout.
Three persons were found some 8-9 hours after the sinking took place, only one survivor. Identification of the two bodies have now been completed by the Vietnamese authorities.
Gearbulk said that one body is confirmed to be C/O Renner Karl Resos Abogadie. The other body is confirmed to be Captain Ronel Acueza Andrin.
The surviving Chief cook has been repatriated to the Philippines. He has been through medical check ups in Vietnam and in the Philippines, and he is now with his family in llollo.
Bahamas Maritime Authority will launch an investigation into the sinking. The Philippines and Vietnam have been invited to join. Gearbulk said it would also have a representative in this investigation.
The company has established a group that will investigate all aspects of the sinking.
“What we do know is based on the statement made by the cook. It happened very fast. From the general alarm sounding in the early morning hours of January 2nd, and abandon ship was heard on the intercom, it took only minutes before the vessel had developed a heavy list to starboard. The cook made his way starboard and jumped overboard. The vessel sank shortly thereafter,” the release reads.
The vessel had loaded a cargo of bauxite in Kuantan, Malaysia. The cargo was declared as group C cargo. Under the IMSBC Code the cargo in category “C” is described as neither prone to liquefaction nor possessing a chemical hazard.
Gearbulk together with NHC (H&M) and Britannia (P&I) have contracted external experts to investigate the cargo properties vs the cargo manifest, and the corresponding liquefaction risk. Until the report is at hand Gearbulk has stopped taking bauxite cargo.
The vessel was built in 2006 and she was docked in May 2014.
“The initial review of technical documentation, maintenance records and inspection reports do not indicate any technical issues with the vessel. She was in good technical condition and in the hands of an experienced Gearbulk crew,” Gearbulk said.