Incident Involving the Ion Ore Carrier Giant Step
October 10, 2006
TOKYO - Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL, President: Akimitsu Ashida) today reported that the MOL-operated iron ore carrier Giant Step went aground offshore Kashima Port in Ibaragi Prefecture about 5:20 p.m. on October 6, 2006. Of 26 crewmembers, two lost their lives and eight are missing and the company is now working to confirm their status; 13 were rescued by Japan Coast Guard helicopters, and three, including two who are now in the hospital, drifted ashore on the coast.
The Giant Step sailed from Port Walcott, Australia, with 190,000 tons of iron ore on September 11, 2006. The ship arrived off Kashima Port on September 25, and anchored while standing by for an open pier. The ship weighed anchor and started to move offshore to avoid a rapidly growing atmospheric depression. However, the ship was unable to complete the maneuver. Subsequently, winds in excess of 20-30 mps blew ship aground 2 km offshore in 16 meters of water.
The Giant Step was run on a sand area and suffered excessive force on particular parts of the ship's hull and affected by storm and wave, so the hull cracked and broke into three segments, and oil spills from the stern segment have been observed. Drifting iron ore powder has been observed as well. MOL will start extracting bunker oil from the hull as soon as wave action quiets enough to make the work feasible.
MOL expresses its deepest condolences to the crew members who lost their lives and heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families.
Profile of Giant Step
- Flag: Panama
- Number of crew members: 25 Indians including the master, and 1 Sri Lankan
- Deadweight: 197,060 tons
- Gross tons: 98,587 tons
- Built: 1985