Partially-Finished Tanker Sinks at Berth at Rio de Janiero Shipyard

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The nearly-finished tanker Irma Dulce partially sank at her berth at the Estaleiro Mauá shipyard in Rio de Janiero this week, according to the Brazilian Navy’s 1st Naval District.  The command received a report of the incident early Tuesday morning. According to the report, the vessel suffered water ingress in a machinery compartment at the stern and partially sank. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the incident is not currently known.  As the newbuild Irma Dulce was never completed, she did not contain any petroleum products or pollutants at the time of the sinking, and no environmental contamination has been reported.  The Captaincy of the Port of Rio de Janiero sent an inspection team to the site to begin an investigation, and the Brazilian Navy will conduct an administrative inquiry to determine the root cause of the sinking.  The ship’s situation is stable and dewatering has commenced, according to local media. Brazilian energy industry outlets have reported that the berth is shallow enough that Irma Dulce’s stern should not sink further.  Irma Dulce is a Panamax crude tanker originally ordered at Estaleiro Mauá by Petrobras subsidiary Transpetro. She was launched in 2014 and is the second in a planned class of four; the project was canceled amidst the fallout from Petrobras’ “Lava Jato” scandal in 2015, resulting in about 3,500 layoffs. Estaleiro Mauá now operates its facility as a combined storage site, port terminal and ship repair yard. It continues to face financial and operational challenges, including a reported attempt by local utilities to cut off its power and water service.