Bulk Jupiter Update 14 January 2015
As all our efforts have gone into the search and rescue operation and to support the families left behind together with Magsaysay we acknowledge that there are many questions unanswered and a need for more information both onboard and in the shore organisation.
Although the Vietnamese MRCC has scaled down their search activities Gearbulk will continue to allocate vessels transiting the area in the weeks to come to search through the projected drift pattern any debris or remains would have been expected to follow. This drift pattern has now extended well into Malaysian waters, and an area with a number of offshore installations and offshore support vessels. Malaysian MRCC has been kindly requested by Gearbulk to notify installations/vessels in the area to maintain a sharp lookout. Nothing further has been found to this date, and how hard it may seem we have to accept that time is working against us. Should any findings be made we will share this information with you.
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. 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 of the sinking. The Philippines and Vietnam have been invited to join. Gearbulk will also have a representative in this investigation. Gearbulk has established a group that will investigate all aspects of the sinking.
Much of the discussions internally and externally are, as must be expected, focusing on how this tragic accident has happened. We must stress that it is still early days, there is a lot of work to be done, and caution must be exercised not to prematurely arrive at conclusions. 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 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.
There are many questions still to be answered, and we can assure you that Gearbulk will leave no stone unturned to find the root cause(s). In such tragic times we would ask that support is given to those that may have lost former shipmates or classmates, friends, neighbours, or family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Bulk Jupiter crew.