UPDATE: New information has revealed that the ship did not sink, rather it broke in two with both sides still afloat.

The loss of the MOL Comfort (formerly named the APL Russia) is a incident that is currently sending huge shockwaves throughout the global maritime industry.  The significance is on par with the loss of the Costa Concordia, minus the loss of life.

Update (27 JUN): MOL Comfort stern section sinks [PHOTOS]

Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and classed by ClassNK a mere 5 years ago, the MOL Comfort was a relatively new ship with a very high quality pedigree.

New ships like this don’t just break apart in big seas, especially a rather common 4,500 TEU containership.  ClassNK and the other members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) have hundreds of years of experience ensuring the safe design and construction of merchant vessels worldwide. Preventing incidents like this is part of their founding mission, it’s what they do.

And that’s what containership owners, P&I firms, and the classification societies are likely most concerned with right now.  What could have possibly gone wrong?

Forensic engineering, interviews with the crew on watch, or even looking at other storms she may have encountered over the past 5 years may shed some light on this disaster, but one thing is for certain… no time will be lost in the coming days and months in looking over plans, re-examining the structural engineering rules, speaking with the shipyard, and perhaps taking a harder look at routing similar ships away from comparable weather.

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    • Alan

      Fail.

  • Capt . Gojkovic Milutin

    who will accept the fact that container ships are for many years incorrectly loaded? inaccurate weighing, comercial crane split , reduction in expolatation costs .Box ship crisis today does not give a lot more options for masters to keep his ” feets” dry … Oh yes, and a trend to command ships from the office and the captain on board is just “mere” of necessary … probably stupid as accept to sail under ” hull ” sterssed condition ? ( as common comment from the shore )

  • archangelofjustice

    what is for sure, is that a big quantity of weapons for the use of terrorists in Syria will be lost. GOD works in various ways…

  • MDonné

    ESP and CAS for container vessels?
    Guess the H&M underwritter isnt going to be too happy about this one..

  • William J. Dutour

    Having been a container ship Master for 15+ years my first suspicions center on incorrect loading or incorrect weights.

    First issue is incorrect loading.

    Check the final load plan and see if the vessel was within limits for both stability and stress.

    The use of the “true” final plan needs to be verified as I do not put it past the terminal to “correct” any deviation they may have entered to begin with.

    I have seen where stack weight issues magically correct themselves in the next plan simply by changing the weight.

    If all the stability and stress limits are met with the original data then we go looking at the data provided.

    The second possibility is that the weights provided to the ship are wrong and the ship was overloaded without the knowledge of the crew.

    Remember that computers do not care about the accuracy of the data entered. Garbage in, garbage out.

    To verify this problem it is first necessary to check the actual sailing drafts with the calculated drafts from the loading information provided. Were they consistent within a few centimeters? I have seen them be exactly the same and I’ve seen them 1 meter different. All because of miss-declared container weights.

    Shippers pay by weight so they have an incentive to Lie about the weight of the container. On top of this not every container is weighed before it is loaded on the ship.

    I have been to some ports where “NO” containers were weighed. This caused a ship from a previous company I worked for to be unstable at the dock. Forensic analysis later determined that the vessel had 1 meter of Negative Stability when cargo finished loading. The cause was underreported weights by the shippers.

    In conclusion I believe it is one of the two reasons above for the accident and not the SW monsoon.

    • Risa Voorhees

      Ahh, sir, truer words were never spoken. Many years ago I hauled containers for a company out of Chicago, Il, and once those containers were dropped and locked onto the chassis I was responsible for them, although I never knew what was in them until the doors were opened. Many times I was nailed at weigh stations for overweight trailers, and charged by the customer for poorly loaded, dangerous, damaged, or leaking cargo, when I was not authorized to even open the sealed doors at pickup. It was a hot mess.

  • Rodeck

    the pb is on the weight some units loaded , the Chief-mate can have confirmed his final loading plan , but did the weight declared were all correct ?gravity pb on loading

  • EMKAY

    Having been sailing for over 25 years and I know in my heart that there is no one single reason for this tragedy.

    It is definitely a combination of more than one of the below factors:

    1. Improper loading (weight distribution) of the containers.
    2. Improper quality steels used and/or inspection programs.
    3. Rough sea conditions.
    4. Pressure from shore side to maintain ETA.
    5. Inexperienced ship crew and master.
    6. Inexperienced cargo planners.
    7. Inexperienced shore side support teams.

    In their never ending quest to cut costs and increase profit margins even in times of difficult economic conditions, even reputed companies risk losing face.

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