JUNE 27, 2013 — Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. reports the aft part of the containership MOL Comfort sank in the open sea near 14'26"N 66'26"E (water depth about 4,000 m) at 16:48 JST (11:48 Dubai time) on June 27. Both halves of five year old vessel had been afloat since the hull fractured in two parts June 17 when the vessel encountered heavy weather in the Indian Ocean.
Photo tweeted by Jeroen Kielpas shows after section under tow prior to sinking
Earlier today, MOL reported that while the fore part of the ship was being towed stably, the aft part was "rolling heavily in adverse weather, and we regret to inform that the ingressing water in the cargo hold and the loss of containers on deck are progressing."
MOL says that 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," said a statement.
SISTER SHIPS TO BE STRENGTHENED
In a separate announcement, MOL said that it was continuing its investigation with shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and ClassNK and has decided to take extra preventive measures as it may take some time to identify the cause.
"For the six sister vessels that we operate, we have already started the operational precautions to reduce the stress on the hull," said MOL. "These vessels sufficiently fill the safety standard required by ClassNK in compliance to IACS , but we will conduct upgrade works to further strengthen the hull structure at the earliest timing. This will enhance the strength of the hull twice as much as the safety standard mentioned above.
The vessels will phase-out from the service for the upgrade works and the sailing schedule will be revised accordingly.