02 March 2004 13:55 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The industrial ethanol lost when the Singapore-flag tanker Bow Mariner sank off Virginia on the US east coast on Saturday with the loss of 21 lives was destined for Union Carbide's Texas City processing plant, it was confirmed to CNI on Tuesday.
The approximately 11 570 tonne of ethanol was manufactured in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia by Saudi Petrochemical Co (Sadaf), a joint venture between Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) and Shell, a source at Sadaf said today.
It was loaded onto the 39 821 deadweight tonne (dwt) Bow Mariner between 24 and 26 January along with some 20 000 tonne of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The MTBE was discharged last week at Linden in the port of New York and New Jersey.
The ethanol was being shipped to Texas City near Houston, Texas, under a long-term contract between Sadaf and Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical. Some 75% of output from Sadaf's 300 000 tonne/year capacity ethanol plant at Al-Jubail is sold to Union Carbide, which refines the ethanol under a tolling agreement with Shell.
A spokesman for the Bow Mariner's owner - Bergen, Norway-headquartered Odfjell - said the cargo was insured through Britannia Steam Ship Insurance, which was also the vessel's protection and indemnity (P&I) insurer. The 22-year-old tanker's hull and machinery was insured through the Norwegian Hull Club, a mutual insurer.
There was no-one immediate available at Britannia to comment on the P&I and cargo insurance details but a spokesman for the Norwegian Hull Club said he expected the hull and machinery claim to be settled in full "within weeks". He would not comment on the insured value of the Bow Mariner but said it was obviously a total loss and a rapid settlement with the owners could be expected.
Although the Bow Mariner had perhaps another five or more years' trading life in the chemical trades, and was described by Odfjell as being in excellent condition, it was a coated rather than stainless steel tank vessel. Together with the vessel's age, this would have depressed the market value.
The Odfjell spokesman said fleet schedules were being adjusted to reflect the loss of the Bow Mariner. However, he said it was too early yet to say whether or when a replacement might be bought or chartered in. He would not comment on the vessel's market or insured value.
A total of 21 lives are now assumed to have been lost when the Bow Mariner blew up and sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast. Contrary to information released yesterday by Odfjell, only three bodies have been recovered. The spokesman said a body recovered by a fishing vessel had been mistakenly counted twice.
Six of the 27 crew survived the incident.
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