Families of 17 Stellar Daisy crew members agree to compensation

Stellar Daisy sank on 31 March. Credit: Malte Schwarz
Stellar Daisy sank on 31 March. Credit: Malte Schwarz

Polaris Shipping has settled compensation amounts with the families of 17 of the 22 seafarers who are believed to have died in the Stellar Daisy sinking on 31 March.

The company, known for operating ore carriers on long-term consecutive voyage charters with industrial shippers such as Vale and POSCO, said on 15 May that the two survivors from the Stellar Daisy have also agreed on compensation amounts.

Polaris would not disclose the compensation amount, citing confidentiality.

The 22 seafarers, comprising eight South Koreans and 14 Filipinos, are still missing and are believed to have gone down with the vessel, which sank in the Uruguayan part of the Atlantic Ocean during a routine Brazil-China voyage. Families of the other five seafarers are demanding that Polaris Shipping continue with the search efforts, although the company has scaled down the search by removing commercial ships from the effort.

The two survivors, both Filipinos, have returned to their families in the Philippines, but remained hired by Polaris through their crewing agency.

“We hope we will reach an amicable settlement with the remaining bereaved families,” said Polaris.

Polaris has come under fire for reporting the accident to the government 12 hours after the company was first notified of the emergency. This suggests that Polaris missed the ‘golden time’ to evacuate all the crew.

The loss of Stellar Daisy has also sparked concerns over the safety of such converted bulk carriers. Shortly after the disaster, another Polaris ore carrier, Stellar Unicorn, had to be diverted to Cape Hope for repairs to a cracked hull, lending more fuel to the speculation.

As of 20 April, Polaris Shipping had initiated inspections on all its ore carriers amid growing concern over the safety of its fleet. On 8 May, cracks were found on another of the company’s vessels, Stellar Queen.