A roll-on-roll-off ship recently arrived in Russia with a precious cargo of cars to be delivered to new owners. There was just one problem: much of the ship and its load of cars were encased in frozen seawater.
On December 27, Panama-flagged car carrier Sun Rio arrived in Vladivostok, Russia’s port. It departed Busan in South Korea just a few days earlier with a full load of cars, reports Russian news site VL. Many of them were new Hondas and other Japanese cars headed to dealerships and customers. The ship arrived with itself and its cargo covered in reportedly tens of centimeters of ice.
The Sun Rio was built in 1991 in Japan by Yamanishi Shipbuilding & Iron Works. At a gross tonnage of 7,578 tons, it’s substantially smaller than the car carriers that deliver cars to the States.
And in the Sun Rio’s case, some of its vehicular cargo rides out on an open deck completely exposed to the elements.
Sun Rio is among the many ships that deliver cars to Vladivostok’s amazing car market, which includes the famous “Green Corner” where all kinds of JDM forbidden fruit can be found.
Sun Rio reportedly hit some extreme weather in the Sea of Japan, notes Marine Insight. A combination of high winds, cold air and rough seas washed water over the deck, which froze. Many of the cars on the deck were covered in ice so thick that they were unrecognizable. Since we’re talking seawater here, the salt is certainly not good for finishes, fasteners or really anywhere else.
Other vehicles were even more unlucky as the ice shattered windows, allowing interiors to fill up with water before freezing.
Area temperatures hung at about -2 Fahrenheit at the time, so sailors weren’t going to be able to wait for the ice to melt. Instead, they’re using reagents, fire hydrants and even crowbars to break the cars out of the ice.
Local ship Captain Pyotr Osichansky spoke to VL and indicated that the winds are stronger this year than usual, but this has happened before and the sailors can handle it. Employees of the aforementioned Green Corner tell VL that it’s common for cars to come into the country like this and it’s expected that some might get damaged.
Sun Rio remains docked at port. It is unclear what the future holds for these vehicles, but if they’re sold to buyers I hope those people get some decent rust protection.