Five-year-old box ship breaks apart in Indian Ocean

MOL Comfort sternJUNE 18, 2013 — A five-year-old 8,000 TEU containership has broken apart in the Indian Ocean. Dramatic photos tweeted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Mumbai (MRCC) this morning showed the two sections of the the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) operated containership MOL Comfort as still afloat.

The ship was delivered in 2008 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works as the APL Russia. It flies the Bahamas flag and is classed by ClassNK.

MOL said that during inclement weather, while under way from Singapore to Jeddah on the Indian Ocean (12'30"N 60'E) at about noon JST (07:00 local time) on June 17, 2013, the ship suffered a crack amidships and ingressing water in the hold. This made it impossible for the vessel to continue on under its own power.

MOL ComfortThe 26 crew members took to lifeboats. All were safely rescued by other vessels in the area.

The hull suffered a crack amidships and the vessel broke into two parts, fore and aft.

MOL said that at about noon JST on Tuesday, June 18 (07:00 local time), the fore part of the hull was drifting around 13'00"N 60'40"E, and the aft part as about 19 miles southwest from that point.

"At present, both parts of the ship are laden with containers and drifting in an east-northeast direction," said MOL. "We are also arranging tugboats to tow both parts."

MOL said that there are no indications as yet of a major oil leak near the site and that details of onboard containers that might be lost overboard or damaged during the incident are being confirmed.

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