I had the misfortune of sailing on one once and it was not an experience I ever want to repeat! It was my first trip with Shell as 3/E on the Rapana, a V.L.O.O as Shell called it. The trip got off to the worst of starts possible as I was sat on the jetty at Tubarao, waiting for them to lower the gangway so I could get onboard. They where having problems lowering the gangway as the two pieces of the telescopic ladders became jammed with iron ore dust. The mate and the chief engineer were in the process of freeing it, when it suddenly freed itself due to the strain it was under. Unfortunately it caught both men trapping them by the feet, their screams turned my legs to jelly! once freed they had to be rushed to hospital as both had suffered nearly complete amputations of one foot each.
The trip never got any better, ship was a disgrace. fortunately it only carried iron ore on my time onboard as I said that if they loaded it with oil. I would not sail out of port on it and would be sat on my suitcase waving goodbye to them!
Later events proved me right! after a long drydocking the Rapana loaded oil again and had just discharged the first part of her cargo at Brofjorden and was on her way to Tranmere when she suffered a pumproom explosion and fire killing 3 of the crew. Shell sold her and her sister ship shortly afterwards! A lesson learnt the hardest of ways!