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The vessel carried 223,000 tonnes of iron ore, a source in Shanghai told Steel First.
“The vessel reached the Subic Bay in the Philippines on April 5 and unloaded 170,000 tonnes out of its total 402,285 tonnes of Brazilian iron ore before it set out for China,” he added.
A source at Vale told Steel First that he was not aware of a VLOC docking at a Chinese port.
“Lianyungang Port could only handle ships of no more than 250,000-300,000 dwt. Maybe the VLOC’s unloading at the Subic Bay made the docking at Lianyungang possible,” an industry analyst in Beijing said.
This is not the first time that a VLOC has docked at a Chinese port without the country’s official permit.
In December 2011, Berge Everest, a 388,000-tonne VLOC loaded with Vale iron ore, docked at China’s Dalian Port.
The world’s largest iron ore miner is looking to cut freight costs by using the mega carriers, which can ship up to 400,000 tonnes of iron ore.
Its $4-billion plan for a 35-vessel fleet is taking shape.