In an incident that poses serious questions for the shipping industry the container ship MOL Comfort snapped into two parts on 17 June in the Indian Ocean.
Fortunately no crew were lost in the incident.
It had been hoped that both the fore and aft sections would be recovered and that this in turn would help investigators, including those from MOL and shipbuilder Mitsubishi, to identifty the cause if the incident.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the Japanese owner, have today announced that the aft section has sunk. It is very unlikely that any recovery of this section is now possible.
There are also increased fears now of an oil spill from the vessel which had been headed to Jeddah from Singapore.
The loading of the containers is expected to be a key line of enquiry as incorrect loading can place enormous shear forces on the vessel superstructure.
In advance of the cause being found the vessels 6 sister ships, MOL Creation, MOL Charisma, MOL Celebration, MOL Courage, MOL Competence and MOL Commitment are currently operating with reduced loads prior to the implementation of urgent restrengthening work.
The bow section is currently under tow and is headed to the Arabian gulf.
MOL have today published the following press release:
TOKYO- Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President: Koichi Muto) reports the aft part of the containership MOL Comfort sank in the open sea near 14’26”N 66’26”E (water depth about 4,000m) at 16:48 JST (11:48 Dubai time) on June 27.
The vessel had been unable to continue sailing under its own power from June 17 because the hull fractured in 2 parts while under way on the Indian Ocean.
About 1,700 containers aboard the aft part sank with this section of the vessel. Some are confirmed floating near the site.
About 1,500 metric tons of fuel oil was estimated to be aboard in the tanks of the aft part. No large volume of oil leakage is confirmed at this moment.
We have reported this fact to Indian authorities while we are keeping patrol boats in the area to monitor the situation of oil leakage and floating containers.
The fore part is being stably towed.
Type of ship: Containership (8000-TEU type)
Containers loaded: 4,382 units (7,041 TEU)
Crew: 26 (11 Russians, 1 Ukrainian, 14 Filipinos)
Built : 2008
Last port – Singapore – Shipfinder.co: http://shipfinder.co/ship/311006900/time/2013-06-11T10:40:00%20UTC