9 December 2003




VESSEL & Interveners

1 - IMO Number : 8121331 2 - Name of Ship : STELLAMARE
3 - Call Sign : PJFA 4 - Gross Tonnage : 2368
5 - Type of Ship : Heavy Load Carrier 6 -Year of Build : 1982
7 - Flag : Antilles Netherlands 8 -Status of Ship : In Service
9 -   Registred Owner : JUMBO NAVIGATION 10 - Address : 3, van Vollenhovenstraat, Rotterdam NETHERLANDS
11 - Ship Manager : KAHN SHEEPVAART 12 - Address : 3, van Vollenhovenstraat, Rotterdam NETHERLANDS
13 - Classification Society : BUREAU VERITAS 14 - P&I Assuranceforeningen Gard - Norway
15 - Surveyor :   16 - Sollicitor :  
17 - Hull Underwriters :   18 - Cargo Underwriters :  
19 - Others :   20 - Others :  

NB : Information 1 to 14 are extracted from the database EQUASIS. Information are updated at the date of the casualty.

Information from 15 to 20 were found on public websites



The 9 December 2003, in the port of Albany (New York), the Heavy Lift Cargo "Stellmare" capsized during the loading operations. Three crew members died. Up to this date (13 december 2003), the cause of damage is unknown.




Agrandir le plan




Date :

23 January 2004 Source : Bizjournals


From the January 23, 2004 print edition

Marine construction firm sees profit in a rebuilt Stellamare

Eric Durr

The Business Review

Herbert Brake has built "three or four" tugboats from scratch. Now he's taking on his biggest job. Brake and the 45 employees of Empire Harbor Marine Inc. and Port Terminal Ltd. will take apart and rebuild the 289-foot-long Stellamare, the ship that capsized at the Port of Albany Dec. 9. On Jan. 16, Brake finalized a deal to purchase the ship for $125,000 from the insurers that covered the loss for its owner, Jumbo Shipping. On Jan. 17, the Stellamare was tied up alongside the wharf at Empire Harbor's Bethlehem facility and work was already underway. The first step, Brake said, was to "bake" the engines dry and start refurbishing the electrical system. In fact, Brake and his crews began working on the ship's electrical generators even before it was officially his.  Empire Harbor, a 10-year-old company, specializes in marine-based construction and demolition projects. Port Terminal Ltd. is a private port, run by Brake and partner Bill Welch, that handles bulk cargoes like salt and gypsum. Brake says he has no worries about making the Stellamare project pay off. He already has had three offers for the 22-year-old ship. Some of the prospective purchasers offered to buy the ship right away, but Brake said he wants to refurbish it first because he will get more money when it is in better shape. He declined to say how much he expected to make from the sale of a rebuilt Stellamare. While the job sounds daunting, Brake said he is not too worried. The ship was in fresh water, not salt water, so damage is minimal, he said. The leaking oil that sparked environmental concerns acts as a preservative coat on the equipment, he said. "It's a big cleaning process is what it is," Brake said. "You have to replace some electrical parts. We're baking them out and going through those." He anticipates hiring some additional help for the Stellamare project, but most of the work will be done with his existing employees, Brake said. The winter weather is keeping his tugboats in port, so those crews can work on the Stellamare, he said. Brake has handled a lot of projects, from removing an old Hudson River bridge in Cohoes to building his port facility. He is "psyched" about the challenge of resurrecting the Stellamare. "It's exciting. That's why we are doing it," he said.


Date :

18 January 2004 Source : Capital News


The Stellamare has two new owners. The Dutch ship tipped over at the Port of Albany on Dec. 9, killing three Russian crew members. But the new owners said they have faith in their purchase.

Co-owner Bill Welch said, "The Stellamare is a very good ship. It was a good faithful vessel for 22 years. It had a very bad and tragic day in December. But it's still a good ship. It was very well-built, it was very well equipped."

Welch and business partner Bart Brake have put their money down on the Stellamare.

Brake said, "She'll get running again. There's no doubt in my mind that she'll be running again."

Brake and Welch specialize in taking old vessels and restoring them at Port Terminal Limited in Bethlehem, just a mile down the Hudson from the Stellamare accident scene. Welch used to pilot aboard the Stellamare years ago when it traveled the Great Lakes and closely followed the ship's month-long clean-up process.

And the process of fixing-up the ship has already started. There's a generator on board to give power throughout the ship. And the inside engine room is already being heated up to about 65 degrees.

Jumbo Shipping sold the 289 foot cargo vessel to Brake and Welch on Friday, but neither will disclose the amount they paid. Despite extensive water damage on the port side, both said the 22-year-old ship is in good shape. And some of the oil that spilled after the ship's capsize actually helped preserve some of it's parts.

The team isn't sure if they will sell or keep the ship. But they said restoring the ship will take at least six months to a year


Date :

16 January 2004 Source : Times Union


The Stellamare is being sold and soon will be towed away from its berth at the Port of Albany.
Local authorities familiar with plans for the Dutch vessel say the insurance company for the owner, Jumbo Shipping, is selling it as a result of extensive mechanical damage sustained when the ship capsized on Dec. 9, killing three Russian crew members.
"Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, it should be leaving our port," said port security director Timothy Murphy.
In a related matter, the Coast Guard has completed its environmental findings on the incident. Cameron said booms successfully contained any oil that did leak out, and there was "only a negligible release of diesel oil in the river."
Jesse Lewis, a spokesman for Jumbo and the ship's insurer, left town last week after the last of the three bodies was recovered.
Reached by telephone in South Africa, Lewis said several parties had expressed interest in purchasing the ship. A buyer could either attempt to repair the ship's engines or sell the vessel for scrap, he said.
"In theory, the boat is sold, but there's four sets of lawyers involved and that seems to make the process somewhat arduous," Murphy said.
He said he believes the prospective buyer is based a short distance down the Hudson River, but he said he does not know specifically who the buyer is.
Commander John E. Cameron, chief of the Coast Guard's New York marine safety division, said Thursday a "dead ship tow plan" required to move the Stellamare has been submitted, minus a date and destination.
The plan outlines the number of tug boats, configuration and horsepower that will be used to move the ship. Once the sale is complete, Coast Guard officials expect to receive the final required details on timing and destination, Cameron said.
The ship capsized as two GE generators were being loaded into the cargo hold.


Date :

6 January 2004 Source : Seawaves


Stellamare' successfully refloated


Rotterdam, 6 January 2004


On Monday the 5th of January SMIT Salvage has successfully refloated the Stellamare.

The vessel was situated along the quayside and was lying on her portside on the riverbed. Two floating cranes and other marine craft were deployed and the vessel is now completely stabilized and all of the water inside the vessel has been pumped out.

The 'Stellamare' is a specialist heavy lift vessel which capsized alongside during loading operations in the port of Albany on Tuesday 9th December 2003 at approx. 15.30 hrs EST. The vessel has been declared Constructive Total Loss (CTL).

At the time of the accident 18 crewmembers were onboard, all of Russian nationality, 15 of which could be rescued from the water and from the vessel. During the operation, the bodies of the 3 missing crewmen were found in the vessel. The MV "Stellamare" was built in 1982 and Netherlands Antilles registered. She measures 88.20 meters in length, is 15.50 meters wide and has a combined lifting capacity of 360 tonnes.


Date :

2 January 2004 Source : Times Union


Cranes lift ship nearly upright  - Crews pump water from capsized "Stellamare" as effort proceeds ahead of schedule By MATT PACENZA, Staff writer

 The capsized cargo ship Stellamare rose to a nearly upright position Thursday, as salvage crews using massive cranes pulled the vessel up and began pumping water out of its flooded cargo hold. The ship tipped over on its left side Dec. 9 while loading a General Electric Co. generator. The accident killed three Russian crew members, including one whose body has not yet been found. On Thursday, the Stellamare returned to just 5 away from a fully erect position, less than two weeks after the salvage operation to recover the 289-foot ship began. The operation is proceeding "ahead of our own timeline," said Jesse Lewis, the spokesman for the Dutch owner of the Stellamare, Jumbo Shipping. He said workers are hopeful they will be able "to locate the third crewman when the vessel is righted." Two massive floating cranes positioned at each end of the ship -- one capable of lifting 500 tons, the other 1,000 -- lifted the boat relatively quickly out of the water Thursday, after slower progress during the past several days. The cranes and their operating crews engaged in an intricate back-and-forth ballet at the Port of Albany, as each alternated lift pressure to pull the ship upright using what Lewis called "the precision of a brain surgeon and the brute force of Hercules. The ship was basically erect by about 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Lewis called the final 5 needed for the ship to be upright "not terribly significant," as the crew began pumping out the hundreds of tons of water that flooded the Stellamare's hold. Pumping was expected to continue through Thursday night, Lewis said.As the water is removed, the cranes will continue to slowly lift the ship, until it is empty and fully upright and floating in the river. Then, it will be carefully inspected before Jumbo decides what to do with the vessel.Despite Thursday's dramatic progress, Lewis refused to say roughly how long until the Stellamare will float again, given unpredictable variables such as weather, which could freeze the river and slow the salvage.

"It will take as long as it takes," Lewis said.


Date :

31 december 2003 Source : Times Union


Crews remove generator from ship's hold  Albany -- Divers search more of "Stellamare" but don't find missing sailor  By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer

First published: Wednesday, December 31, 2003  Salvage crews lifted a 308-ton electric generator Tuesday from the submerged hold of a capsized cargo ship at the Port of Albany. The retrieval of the generator from the Stellamare was another step toward refloating the vessel, said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. James Cameron. "We will continue removing water from the front of the ship tomorrow and replacing hatch covers, so we can make the ship watertight," he said. There was still no sign of a missing Russian crewman who disappeared when the 289-foot ship overturned while loading another General Electric Co. generator on Dec. 9. That generator was retrieved from the bottom of the river Dec. 17. Tuesday's salvage was of a generator that had already been loaded into the Stellamare and partially welded to the cargo hold floor before the accident. Workers spent hours preparing, first by detaching a 500-ton waterborne rotating crane that had helped partially right the Stellamare on Monday. Starting at about 3:40 p.m., a tugboat maneuvered the barge containing the crane into position next to the cargo hold. Divers in the hold attached cable lifting slings around four large transport bolts on the sides of the generator. The crane began raising the generator about 5:30 p.m., and it broke the surface of the water about an hour later. Cameron said the divers were hampered because the generator had shifted when the ship overturned, leaving very little room to work between the lifting bolts and the interior of the cargo hold. "Visibility there has been about a foot, at best, and when things are stirred up, it's almost nothing," he said. Divers also discovered that part of the generator had punctured one of the ship's ballast tanks. Cameron said the damage would not prevent refloating the ship. Ballast tanks are filled with water or air, depending on how much buoyancy is desired. The Stellamare has a series of such tanks. "At this point, our plan is on schedule," said Jesse Lewis, a spokesman for Jumbo Shipping, the Dutch company that owns the heavy-lift ship.Salvage plans had to be changed earlier in the day when it was found the ship had been raised too far upright the day before to be stable. The ship had been raised to a 30-degree list, but was lowered Tuesday morning to about 40 degrees to make it more secure, said Coast Guard Lt. Carissa VanderMey. She said divers had searched some additional cabins in the ship but found no sign of the missing sailor. The bodies of the two other crewmen killed in the accident were recovered from the cargo hold earlier this month. A 1,000-ton crane used Monday continued to hold the Stellamare's fore mast in place while the second crane retrieved the generator from the hold. The concrete-colored generator, stained with river silt, was lowered by the crane onto a waiting railroad flatcar. Richard Stack, of the Albany Port Railroad, said the generator will be taken to the General Electric plant in Schenectady, where it will be examined for damage. The generator, valued at several million dollars, had been bound for Italy at the time of the accident.


Date :

14 december 2003 Source : Times Union


Terror takes over as a ship capsizes  Survivors of an incident like the "Stellamare" accident detail horror By PAUL GRONDAHL, Staff writer


First published: Sunday, December 14, 2003


When a cargo ship in port begins to capsize during the lifting of heavy equipment into the hold, the laws of physics are unforgiving. The result is a slow-motion terror ride driven by natural forces so great that human ingenuity is powerless to stop it. Charles Mulholland Jr., a retired captain, survived a capsizing similar to what happened to the Stellamare, a 1979 catastrophe that haunts him. "It seemed like it took a minute or so to roll over and people were screaming. Machinery was sliding and crashing around the ship. We couldn't stop it. It was total mayhem, like something out of 'The Poseidon Adventure,' " said Mulholland, 59, of Drexel Hill, Pa. He recalled a 24-year-old mishap during test lifts in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., aboard the John Henry, a 300-foot "heavy lift" cargo ship in the final phase of construction. "Stop! Stop! Stop!" screamed Capt. Hans Ruhlandt, who's now executive vice president of Ewig International Marine Corp. He's a heavy lift expert who was providing technical advice to the John Henry from the ship's deck in 1979.Nothing they tried in those anguished moments that seemed suspended in time could reverse the capsizing that injured several crew members and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the John Henry. An investigation determined that a clamp called a "Crosby clip" failed on the thick cable sling used to hoist a 225-ton test weight from a shipboard crane. That upset the delicate balancing act, setting off a domino effect that flipped the John Henry. "It was horrible," Ruhlandt recalled. "It just gets away from you and you don't know what happened until it's too late." The John Henry accident created an eerie doppelganger with the Stellamare capsizing for Ruhlandt. He visited one of his employees at Albany Medical Center Hospital, who was seriously injured aboard the Stellamare. "He's still in intensive care, but he looks much better," Ruhlandt said Friday. He would not provide the name of the injured man, who is a veteran Ewig employee hired to consult during Tuesday's routine loading of General Electric Co. generators. Dozens of similar heavy lifts with GE turbine components have been successfully completed at the Port of Albany, including many aboard the Stellamare. After discussions at the hospital with his employee, Ruhlandt said he's convinced there was nothing out of the ordinary in the standard sequence of planned heavy lift procedures. But at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, the Stellamare listed slowly away from the dock when a second load, a 308-ton generator, was being hoisted over the ship's open hatch. It was being lowered into the hold where a similar generator had already been placed. "There was no rush on the job. It was all routine," Ruhlandt said. "It's still under investigation. Having been on a ship myself that flipped like that, I won't speculate." There has been no indication of a mechanical failure on the two shipboard cranes. Working in tandem as they were Tuesday, those two cranes have a 360-ton lift capacity. Among heavy lift ships, the Stellamare is considered a small, shallow-draft vessel well-suited to the Hudson River, which has a maximum depth of 31 feet. "We simply don't know what caused it, but so far there is no indication than any cable or equipment broke," said Arnold van der Heul, a spokesman for the Stellamare's owner, Jumbo Shipping of the Netherlands. "There were many people watching the lift, and somebody would have noticed if something broke." Jumbo has sent a company director and two superintendents to Albany to interview the captain and crew and assist local authorities. The captain -- whom van der Heul would not name -- has been sailing the Stellamare for less than a year, but "he was obviously technically qualified and certified. These types of voyages are duly planned and the captain is aware of the procedures," van der Heul said in an interview from Holland. The gross tonnage of the 289-foot Stellamare is 2,368 tons. The combined weight of the two generators, 661 tons, was well within the ship's capabilities. But loading more than one-quarter of a ship's overall weight into the hold of a floating, touchy, top-heavy ship empty and riding high in the water is a technical challenge with a slim margin for error. "It's not like just lifting something heavy with a crane on the ground at a construction site," said Mulholland, who later investigated accidents involving cargo for the Department of Defense's Naval Surface Warfare Center in Philadelphia. "The ship is a very unstable platform. Every variable has to be calculated precisely to maintain the balance or you can get into trouble in a hurry," he said. Mulholland suggests that one accident cause that would be investigated is a ballast problem. Each ship carries a 150-200 page technical volume, known as the "trim and stability" book. It covers every contingency involving load, ballast and center of gravity and the volatile interplay among the three. For long hours before a heavy lift, the captain and his senior officers consult the ship's trim and stability book, pore over cargo weight and dimension specifications, calculate where to place water as ballast and do a loading plan. "The little ships are so tippy and sensitive that we'd go over and over our plan for hours," Mulholland said. That included making paper mock-ups of the cargo and placing it in a schematic drawing of the ship's hold while running various mathematical calculations. The pressure to make the right calculations rests squarely on the ship's captain and senior officers. There's a saying in the industry: You lift it, you own it. The technical challenge began the moment the Stellamare took the weight of the 308-ton generator onto its twin "hooks," or cranes, a fraction of an inch off the Port of Albany pier. That lifting of the weight immediately shifts the ship's center of gravity and it would have naturally listed noticeably several degrees starboard -- the right side of the ship -- as it was held to the pier by lines in the first stage of the planned sequence. Then, to stabilize the ship and return it to an even keel, thousands of gallons of water (each gallon weighs 8.34 pounds) are pumped from the starboard side ballast tank to the port, or left, side ballast tank. The captain essentially uses opposing forces -- the heavy cargo listing the ship to starboard and the ballast on the port side -- to transfer the cargo to the hold. Because of environmental regulations, ballast water taken in at sea by oceangoing ships cannot be discharged into the Hudson, requiring "double trimming." This technique is quicker, but also more risky and technically challenging than pumping all of the water out of one ballast tank before filling the other side, according to Mulholland. "A lot of things can go wrong because you're moving a large, heavy volume of water rather quickly from one side of the ship to the other. It's critical to keep it within the allowable range of list," Mulholland said. (Hold a large baking pan half-filled with water in your hands and tip it from side to side to get an idea of the powerful forces and pendulum effect at work in double trimming.) Another factor likely under investigation is what is known as a "free surface effect," which has proven catastrophic in shipping accidents. In addition to the ballast tanks used in double trimming, tanks in the forepeak and afterpeak of the hull are filled to help stabilize the ship once at sea. A ship's trim and stability book will underscore the fact that there are only two acceptable levels for those additional ballast tanks: Completely full or empty. If those tanks are half-full when a ship lists, the sloshing creates a powerful force, or free surface effect, capable of capsizing a ship. Ivar Giaever, Nobel laureate physicist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former GE researcher, speculated that the Stellamare may have capsized due to something as mundane as a ballast problem.  "I see it as a very simple physics problem," Giaever said. "You have an empty ship. You put some heavy stuff on one side and the ship leans over. If you don't have the right amount of ballast on the other side as you move the load, it tips over." Mulholland said he has kept in touch with the John Henry crew and they continue to suffer nightmares 24 years later -- particularly the men trapped below who had to swim out after the hold flooded. "It's a freak thing and so sad because sailors who have survived ferocious storms at sea end up injured or killed with the ship tied up at the dock," Mulholland said. "Something happens so slowly that it's not perceptible at first. When the problem becomes perceptible, it's too late."


Date :

10 December 2003

Source :

American Business Journals


The Business Review (Albany) - December 10, 2003



1:21 PM EST Wednesday

Overturned vessel continues to block Port of Albany access

Eric Durr

The Business Review

The Port of Albany remained closed Wednesday in the wake of the rollover of the Dutch vessel Stellamare, which overturned on Dec. 9 as two mammoth pieces of generator equipment were being loaded.


Rescue workers were also continuing to search for the remaining three workers who were on board when the ship overturned. The other 15 crew members were accounted for.


The 289-foot-Stellamare capsized on Tuesday afternoon while a 240-ton generator made by General Electric Co., and a 300-ton component to an electric turbine were being loaded on to the ship. The ship is owned by the Jumbo Shipping Co. SA of Switzerland, and was to transport the cargo to Italy and Romania.


The Hudson River was closed to boats upriver and downriver from the port as recovery operations continued. The intention of the Coast Guard was to open the port to traffic on a case-by-case basis, said Commander John Cameron, the chief of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Operations Division for New York.


"We are working with Hudson River pilots and port officials around the Port of Albany to determine what cargoes are the most essential to pass this area, and what the specific parameters of each vessel bearing each load are so we can make a case-by-case analysis and restore as much commerce activity as possible," Cameron said.


On Dec. 10 it was too early to determine how long restrictions on movement in and out of the port area would be in place, Cameron said. Priority was being given to fuel oil barges due into the port from New York City. Another cargo ship was due to arrive on Thursday, and efforts were being made to allow it to dock, according to the Coast Guard.


In an early afternoon press conference at the scene, Gov. George Pataki said that efforts to contain spilled diesel fuel had been successful, and the ship had been stabilized. He said that officials anticipated opening the river to small boats by the afternoon. Because the accident occurred at a bend in the river, larger ships that would require a turning area would have a harder time accessing the port, he said.


Allowing certain, less maneuverable vessels to move up and down the river past the site where the 290-foot Stellamare sits on the river bottom could disrupt recovery, salvage and environmental containment operations, Cameron said.


"The pilots, the port officials and the Coast Guard will impose whatever mitigation strategies we can on a case-by-case basis," Cameron said.


City of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said it was too early to determine what the economic impact of the accident would be. The first priority is to recover the missing crewmembers, Jennings said.


Salvage Masters, a Swedish company, has already been called to begin the operation of righting the Stellamare. Salvage experts from around the world are on their way to Albany to assist, Cameron said.


There's no estimate on how long it will take to right the ship.


"Righting the ship will be the end result of a long and technical salvage operation," Cameron said.


There's no price tag yet on how much a recovery operation will cost. Jennings said the question of who will be paying to salvage the ship hasn't been addressed yet.


The Coast Guard has already launched a "casualty investigation" to determine the cause of the accident. At this point there's nothing to indicate that the load, equal to 500 tons, was too much for the ship, Cameron told reporters.


"The combined weight of the cargo on board, and what was being loaded was within 20 percent of the capacity of the vessel," he said. "We do not believe, at this time, that any parameters of the vessel were grossly exceeded in regards to the load itself," Cameron said.


The Port of Albany has long served as a shipping hub for GE Power Systems. The port has specialized in bulk cargo but is now seeking to attract container traffic. A state-subsidized weekly container barge service from New York City to Albany was launched earlier this year.


Date :

10 december 2003 Source :

Kahn Sheepvaart (as Agent of Jumbo)


MV Stellamare capsized in Albany Press Release


Motor vessel Stellamare capsized in Albany, 3 crew members missing


Rotterdam, Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - Yesterday the 9th of December  2003, at approximately 15.30 hrs EST, in the port of Albany NY, the

Netherlands Antilles registered motor vessel Stellamare, owned by "Jumbo Navigation NV", at Willemstad, N.A., capsized during loading operations.


At the time of the accident there were 18 crew members on board, all of Russian nationality, 15 of which could be rescued from the water or from the vessel.

Unfortunately three crew members are still unaccounted for. "We fear for the lives of the missing crew members as the water temperature is very low," says Jumbo spokesman Van der Heul. "Our prayers and thoughts are with them and their loved ones." Divers were employed in and around the vessel. However they have so far not been able to find the missing crew members. One of the rescued crew members was hospitalized in an Albany Hospital, but he has in the meantime been discharged from the hospital.

The vessel is a so called "heavy lift" type, equipped with 2 derricks of each 180 mton safe work load. It has a combined capacity 360 mton.

Stellamare was in the process of loading a heavy component of a power station, weighing some 300 mton, when the vessel unexpectedly obtained a list over her portside. As result of this increasing list the vessel lost stability and ultimately flooded and capsized alongside her loading berth in the Port of Albany.

Owners and agents Kahn Scheepvaart BV have no explanation yet regarding the actual cause of the accident. Investigations are being conducted in order to determine the cause of the accident. The mv Stellamare was built in 1982 by van Diepen Shipyards in Waterhuizen, the Netherlands with highest class Bureau Veritas equivalent to LLoyds 100A1. Her last special survey was carried out in 2002. Marine/salvage experts from USCG together with Owners Reps and underwriters will today begin with assessment of the situation, in order to determine further steps to be taken.

NOTE: Sender of this press release is Kahn Scheepvaart BV in Rotterdam as agents to Jumbo; press contact is mr Arnold van der Heul. Email: , phone +31 + 10 413 46 30






Sources :  



Hull :

TBA Cargo : TBA
Liability : TBA Fees : TBA
Others : TBA    

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