More than three weeks after the initial accident of the container vessel MOL COMFORT , which broke in two in the Arabian Sea and whose stern half sank after ten days of drifting and under tow, the bow half of the ship has finally sunk too.
A salvage company contracted by the vessel’s operator Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) had initially managed to take the front half of the ship’s hull under tow towards the Middle East Gulf to rescue at least half of the MOL COMFORT’s cargo of containers. After some days of successful towing however, a fire broke out in the holds of the bow part. Despite efforts from the salvage tug, the fire could not be controlled and it consumed most of the ship’s cargo and is finally weakened the hull to the point that it took in water and sank.
All cargo onboard the 8,540 teu ship, which was trading on the G6 alliance’s Far East to Europe service Loop 1, has thus been lost.
MOL said in a statement that it will keep the salvage team at the scene to monitor if there is any oil leakage or any floating containers.
The loss of the MOL COMFORT and her cargo resulted from cracks that developed in the hull while the ship was sailing in adverse weather conditions with a heavy swell. All crew was able to safely abandon the ship, shortly before it broke in two. The hull fragments then drifted apart with the majority of containers still onboard.
While the root cause of the accident is yet unknown, MOL has decided not to take any risk and to send all sister ships of the type to emergency drydocking and apply hull strengthening at the earliest opportunity. The Japanese shipping line came up with a contingency plan to cover for the temporary unavailability of the ships.