July 30, 2010
MOL investigates M Star tanker damage
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is not buying the idea, voiced by some local officials, that the damage to the tanker M. Star was caused by a freak wave.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, reported Wednesday that at about 5:30 a.m. JST (00:30 local time) when in Omani waters, west of the Strait of Hormuz, the tanker suffered hull damage caused by an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources.
The ship is now in Fujairah where the damage is being assessed by investigators from classification society NKK and U.S. and British naval experts.
With an attack by Somali pirates being discounted, local port officials have suggested a possible collision or an encounter with a stray mine. Another theory that has been put forward that the damage is the result of a botched suicide bomb attack similar to that on the tanker Limburg in 2002
Yesterday Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. released photographs the M. Star that, according to Japanese newspaper Mainichi, "suggest that there was a powerful blast outside the ship. A lifeboat mounted on its starboard deck was apparently blown away by the force of the blast, while the door of the ship's bridge on its rear starboard side was damaged, exposing insulation materials in the walls and the ceiling inside the room. Another photo shows the window frames of the dining room scattered on tables."
"The area around the door was not wet, and it is unlikely that a wave caused the damage," Mainichi quotes a company official, as saying.