Ironically, nature always has the last say. Mitsui OSK Lines has confirmed that the fore section of MOL Comfort has sunk in the Indian Ocean despite salvage and coastguard teams battling for seven days to contain a blaze that broke out on board after the vessel split in heavy seas.
MOL Comfort sank in high seas near 19º56’N and 065º25’E in waters around 3,000 metres deep at about 0400 hrs Japan standard time on 11 July, MOL said in a statement .
Mitsui has reported this fact to the flag state of Bahamas, Indian authorities and parties concerned, and will keep the salvage team at the scene to monitor if there is any oil leakage and floating containers. The salvage team comprises Smit Salvage, which was overseeing the operation from Singapore, and Nippon Salvage.
The Indian Coast Guard sent a patrol vessel with firefighting capability two days go to help put out the fire.
The 2008-built, 8,110 TEU ship ruptured on 17 June off the coast of Yemen while en route from Singapore to Jeddah with some 4,372 boxes on board. It split in two the following morning and the stern section sank after drifting for 10 days.
Tugs reached the forward section, which still had much cargo intact, on 24 June, which slipped free from its tow wire on 1 July, but was reattached on 3 July. Adverse weather has hampered the salvage operation since it began. Source: Mitsui. Pictures courtesy gCaptain.com
According to MRCC Mumbai, both the forward and aft portions of the MV MOL COMFORT are floating and a sister ship is monitoring the situation
26 crewmen had to be rescued by the Indian Coast Guard after the containership they were on snapped in half and sank off Yemen. The hull of the MV MOL COMFORT broke in two, forcing its crew to abandon ship. The men were plucked from the rough waters. Three nearby vessels aided in the rescue of the mariners, after they managed to get off the ship into two life rafts and a lifeboat. They are being transported to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The damaged vessel sank shortly afterwards in the same position, with most of its 4,500 containers scattered in the Arabian Sea, with an unspecified amount of oil spilled. The cause of the disaster and type of cargo onboard were not immediately known.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President: Koichi Muto) reports that the MOL-operated containership MOL Comfort, 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 during inclement weather, suffered a crack amidships and ingressing water in the hold. This made it impossible for the vessel to continue on under its own power.
Some of the containers on the vessel were lost overboard or suffered damage during the incident. Details are being confirmed. The damage to the MOL Comfort is extensive, while the 26 crew members took to lifeboats. All were safely rescued by other vessel in the area.
MOL immediately set up the Emergency Control Headquarters (headed by President Koichi Muto) for the incident, and is taking company-wide measures necessary to settle the matter properly.