The VLOC 'Stellar Daisy' sank in March 2017 in the South Atlantic, off Uruguay, while carrying ore from Brazil to China, killing 22 of the 24 crew members onboard. Only two Filipino nationals survived.
The first trial took place last year, when the owner company Polaris Shipping and its CEO were 'charged of violation of shipping safety law'.
Namely, the company was believed to have detected defects to the ship, but it did not report them to South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
Meanwhile, the official investigation by flag state RMI confirmed that the likely direct cause of foundering was a rapid list to port following a catastrophic structural failure of the ship’s hull that resulted in a loss of buoyancy and uncontrolled flooding.
As such, the court judgment last week found the CEO guilty for not reporting vessel defects, but not guilty for the maintaining balance of the ship.
As a result, KIM Wan-Jung received 6-month imprisonment with one year of probation, while Polaris Shipping received a penalty fine of KRW 15 million (=$12,426).
On the aftermath of the decision, the families of the victims expressed their frustration, claiming that the sentence was too light.
In addition, they claimed that “the sinking itself can not be the basis of the assessment of the case because its cause had not yet been revealed”, so the real cause of the sinking needs to be determined.
The ship was considered unaccounted for until it was discovered in South Atlantic in February 2019.
The VDR recovered included one cracked chip, making data extraction impossible, so only 7% of the data has been restored.
In this regard, both the families of the victims asked for a second search in order to determine the cause of the ship’s sinking, and recover the remains of the crewmen which were spotted during the last search.
According to Allianz, half of the 10 largest ships reported as total losses in 2017 were bulk carriers.