South Korean families of the missing crew members of the ill-fated bulker Stellar Daisy, which sank off Uruguay in March 2017, are calling on the authorities to continue the search and rescue operation for the missing seafarers.
The South Korean ship was carrying 24 crew members, eight South Korean and sixteen Filipino sailors, when it sank in the South Atlantic, some 3,700 kilometers off Uruguay.
Two Filipino sailors were rescued on April 1, while the remaining 22 crew members remain missing and are presumed dead.
The victims’ families have set up an organization which has been campaigning over the past nine months for the search and rescue operation to be resumed in order to determine the cause of the sinking of the vessel.
The families insist the vessel’s blackbox needs to be found in order to determine what caused the sinking and for those responsible to be held accountable.
So far their efforts haven’t been very fruitful and they are asking for international support in order to encourage Korean authorities to act and designate the needed funds to resume search efforts.
The families believe that there is still hope that survivors may be found as two life rafts from the vessel remain unaccounted for.
In addition, they are asking from the U.S. Government to release the information they gathered during their search for the survivors, including photos and videos of a life raft sighting by a U.S. Navy airplane on April 8, 2017, in order to determine whether any sailors managed to escape the shipwreck.
Based on the information disclosed so far, the conversion of the said vessel from an oil carrier to a bulker is believed to be linked to the cause of the ship’s sinking. Just a few days after the incident, Polaris Shipping, owner of the ship, confirmed that another of the firm’s vessels reported a crack on the outer hull of a tank.
As a result, the company said that it had launched inspection of all its operated vessels.
The company’s premises were also raided as part of South Korean Coast Guard’s 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.
World Maritime News Staff