Oil sheen, 'strong smell of fuel' at Stellar Daisy crew rescue site: Navy

Location of ore carrier and fate of 22 crew members remains unknown.

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Updated on 03 Apr 2017 00:04 GMT

The Uruguayan Navy has reported finding an oil sheen and a "strong smell of fuel" - as well as floating debris - at the location where two Filipino seaman were rescued from a raft near what is thought to be the site where the very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Daisy sank in the South Atlantic on Friday.

The South Korean vessel went missing after the ship's crew sent a mobile text message on Friday at 11:20 p.m. (Seoul time) to their South Korean employer, Polaris Shipping, saying the ship was taking on water on the port side and sinking.

At the time of the incident, the Marshall Islands-flagged ore carrier was sailing in waters around 2,500 kilometres east of Uruguay after departing from Brazil on 26th March.

Uruguay's Navy and Brazilian authorities were alerted when an emergency satellite signal was received from the 266,000-tonne Stellar Daisy. A search and rescue operation was subsequently launched in the area of the signal. Nearby commercial vessels were asked to assist in the search effort while the Brazilian Air Force dispatched a Lockheed Martin C-130 plane to the site.

An escape raft carrying the two Filipino crew was later found drifting by commercial ships in the area. Of the six lifeboats the Stellar Daisy had on board, five are said to have been recovered.

The 322-metre-long Stellar Daisy was carrying 24 crew: eight South Korean and 16 Filipino sailors. Authorities said that all crew members were probably wearing their life vests.

"A search operation is continuing for the 22 people," a South Korean government official was cited as saying on Saturday.

The location of the South Korean ore carrier remains unconfirmed.