* Tohoku declares force majeure due to damaged port
* Some damage at Tohoku’s 2,000 MW Haramachi power plant
* Stockpiles likely washed away or contaminated by seawater (Adds details, background)
SHANGHAI, March 15 (Reuters) - Japanese utility Tohoku Electric (9506.T) has declared force majeure on its near-term thermal coal shipments due to severe port damage, a supplier who has received the notice said on Tuesday.
Tohoku, which is based in Sendai and services the northeastern area of Japan, was not able to take upcoming shipments because Friday’s tsunami has severely damaged the Soma port, said the source.
Conveyor belts at Tohoku’s coal-fired Haramachi plant I and II have also been damaged by the quake, said a trader who has seen photographs of the damage, but he said it was not clear if the plants’ turbines and the cooling walls were also affected.
A 7.3-metre tsunami wave rammed into Soma port on Friday, causing extensive damage. Other ports that have been hit include Hachinohe, Sendai, Onahama and Ishinomaki.
Other trade sources said coal stockpiles held by Tohoku and Japan’s Joint Power Co (JOBAN) at the coast were likely to have been washed away or contaminated by seawater.
Trade press also reported that three coal carriers, the Shiamizu, Shirouma and Coral Ring, had ran aground while discharging or preparing to unload cargoes because of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
For a factbox on details of refineries, ports and metal-related industries shut in Japan, click on [ID:nL3E7EE1HQ]
Separately, Japanese steel mills are diverting metallurgical coal cargoes due to plant outages following Friday’s massive earthquake.
Possible destinations for the metallurgical coal included South Korea and China, one source said, while another said that the destination of the cargoes had not yet been fixed. (Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)