The chief mate of a bulker has died after it listed while shipping nickel ore from the Philippines.
Alam Manis, a 2007-built 55,652dwt Supramax bulker owned by Malaysian Bulk Carriers, listed on 17 July.
The Singapore-flagged ship had left Loreto Dinagat, Philippines at 18.48 hrs on 12 July, after loading 53,795 tonnes of nickel ore.
Alam Manis, bound for Lianyungang, China, was carrying 21 Filipino crew members. The voyage would normally take seven to eight days.
Malaysian Bulk Carriers said, “As a result of heavy weather conditions and adverse swell, the cargo in holds No 1 & 2 shifted, resulting in the vessel listing by 14 degrees starboard.”
The company said the ship’s crew notified it of the situation at 05.55hrs on 15 July , upon which it convened a crisis command centre.
At the time, the ship was about 225 nautical miles south-east of Taiwan.
Applied Weather Technology, which produces voyage management software to guide ships according to weather conditions, advised the crew to steer the ship to the nearest port of refuge.
Throughout, the company maintained contact with the crew.
Related news: UK P&I cautions on nickel ore liquefaction
The company’s affiliated offshore oilfield service provider POSH Semco despatched one of its tugs, Salviscount, to assist the stricken ship.
Both POSH Semco and Malaysian Bulk Carriers are part of Malaysian conglomerate Kuok Group.
The tug reached Alam Maris at 01.20 hrs on 16 July and the ship proceeded towards San Fernando in north Luzon.
But the following day, the listing worsened to 20 degrees starboard and at 17.05 hrs, the company ordered the crew to evacuate the ship.
All but one of the 21 crew members survived. The chief mate, Henry Libo-on, died of a heart attack at 21.33 hrs.
Citing ongoing investigations, Malaysian Bulk Carriers would not reveal to IHS Maritime as to whether cargo liquefaction caused the vessel to list.
The company said one of its staff has gone to San Fernando to provide assistance, while the Alam Manis is being stabilised.
The cargo on the ship will be offloaded to enable the vessel to be sent to a repair yard.
A company personnel, who was immediately despatched to San Fernando following the initial reports of the vessel listing, has been on hand to provide assistance on site.
Arrangements are being made to stabilise the vessel and discharge cargo before towing it to a repair yard for repairs.
Malaysian Bulk Carriers CEO Kuok Khoon Kuan said: “We are deeply saddened that one of our colleagues onboard the Alam Manis has lost his life during an emergency situation on the ship. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones and are providing immediate assistance to the family following such a terrible loss. We are relieved that all others on board are now safe.”
UK P&I Club, which insures the Alam Manis, has since issued an advisory reminding ship owners of the risks of transporting nickel ore.