MOL Comfort on fire in the Indian Ocean in July 2013.

MOL Comfort on fire in the Indian Ocean in July 2013.

SEE ALSO: A Look Back: MOL Comfort Splits in Two and Sinks in Indian Ocean

UPDATE (10 JUL): MOL Comfort Fore Section has Sunk

UPDATE (1 JULY): No real updates from over the weekend. MOL released a statement Monday that the fore part of the MOL Comfort is still under tow near 16’46”N 67’55”E, but the weather is still adverse.

Meanwhile, patrol boats are keeping in the area to monitor where the aft part sank and neither oil leakage nor floating containers are visible.

ORIGINAL: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has just reported that the aft section of the MOL Comfort has sunk near 14’26”N 66’26”E at 16:48 JST (11:48 Dubai time) on June 27. With a water depth of 4,000 meters, no further salvage of the ship will be possible due to the extreme ocean depth.

mol comfort

The aft section of the MOL Comfort, which is now at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Photo: MRCC Mumbai

MOL notes that about 1,700 containers and 1,500 metric tons of fuel oil sank with this section of the vessel. Some containers are confirmed floating near the site.

gCaptain has been told that the stern began sinking at 1000 hrs (local time) when hatch 7 was breached. The vessel made a quick list and trim forward and to her starboard. Bright colored and black smoke were observed billowing from the section and, as a precaution, both vessels in the vicinity moved upwind away from the vessel.

The photos below were sent to gCaptain (notice the 5-minute lapse in the time stamp):











The fore part is being stably towed as depicted in the following images sent to us this morning. Images were taken by Captain Svend Degn, master of the MV Torm Thyra.

mol comfort under tow

Image (c) Captain Svend Degn

mol comfort under tow

Image (c) Captain Svend Degn

Earlier Report this morning, prior to sinking:

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) reports that the aft part of the vessel has yet to be taken under tow and is “rolling heavily in adverse weather,” and that an unknown number of containers have been lost and water ingress into the cargo hold is progressing.

MOL notes that structural reinforcements will be added to the six other sister ships of the MOL Comfort at the earliest possible opportunity.

“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.”



SW Monsoon forces 5-7 with 3-5 meter waves prevailing.

The 2008-built MOL Comfort broke in half on June 17, 2013 while underway about 200 miles from the Yemeni coast with a load of 7,041 TEUs. All 26 crew – made up 11 Russians, 1 Ukrainian and 14 Filipinos – escaped the sinking ship on two life rafts and a lifeboat.

MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013.

MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013.

-by Rob Almeida and Mike Schuler

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    • David Mulroy

      outstanding comment, how did you come about this revelation. When you look at the pictures of the vessel, after it had broken up it would appear that both sections were on an even keel with no signs of a list either way.if it had been loaded incorrectly the loading computers would have shown an incorrect balance. And this would have been corrected in port prior to disembarkation. Perhaps this is just a fault with design with insufficient strengthening in areas previously identified in this class of ship.

  • Lindinkosi Gladwell Mgenge

    I hope general average will prevail,to compensate those who lost cargo proportionately

  • M

    For general average u require a voluntary sacrifice to be made of ship or cargo in order to save the ship in an emergency…..there does not seem to be any voluntary sacrifice in this case to avoid the peril.

  • habib

    very bad tradegy.

    • C


  • Harold Johnson – The Flotsam Diaries

    What rights do the neighboring nations have to know what was on those containers? Eventually (maybe in a week maybe in 50 years) they’ll start breaking up and their contents (if buoyant plastic) will start polluting & fouling the shores for 100s of miles around. Is any of the ship’s manifest public?

    • C

      Compared with VLCC hull structure failure, MEGCON’s is quit environment friendly.

  • Mike Schuler

    Is it just me or does the tow of the bow section seem all over the place?

  • Laurent Bompard

    I had heard about that type of accident, but the images are quite impressive. One thing I always wondered about: Are containers watertight? Would they float for a while and if so be a potential hazard to other ships around?

    • Tups

      The containers often float with just few inches above the surface. They are a major hazard to other vessels.

      They will sink eventually, of course.

  • ben moll

    Mikey I think the photo’s of the bow section don’t actually show it under tow, but perhaps as they are setting up to get it in tow. While it is down by the head I am not sure I would want to tow it broken end first with the risk of bursting that bulkhead. A challenging tow for sure, especially with the weather.

  • Ian

    here’s a thought, why not send out a Dockwise ship to collect the bow section… or is bow section be too heavy or too large..?

    • Tups

      Are there any around?

    • C

      Will the bow section be stable on dockwise?

  • http://none JAMIL KHAN

    Seems like hull had been of poor quality steel and breaking into two is also not to forget the stability side and check the GM factor on loading then you can find out whose fault as considered 80% of marine accident is due human faults either by naval architect or ship’s crew this is for PNI and underwriter to decide

  • http://ProfileinLinkedIn Captain Ranjan Chowdhury

    MOL was my indirect client for number of years plus knowing number of Masters/CENG /agents /other few persons (details withheld)but unfortunate in PCC (Couger Ace and Baltic Ace episode), 2006/2007 number of Capesize and handy size BCs problem,MOL COMFORT is again a big blow for them, bringing huge DISCOMFORT despite having credential background like Mitsubishi Corp and they may close the Shipping division.I was making comment to my Japanese friends for years to merge with NYK, There is no shame as can be seen DNV merged with GL during Global recession !
    -In effective Crew Management
    -Too much Paper work now a days after number of mishaps as complained by Crew personnel with rigorous training , debriefing, prebriefing etc prior joining /signing off
    – Serious dis balance of the loaded containers weight due to false cargo weight declarations and faulty cargo plan: This has been years of allegation
    -Time provided in the port is very short for COFF to calculate SF/BM
    -Huge Ballasting/DeBallasting to be done during Cgo Disch/Ldg plus Heeling tanks in max use , causing Huge stresses…Is COFF is calculating worst scenarios what we calculate in Break Bulk ship or Bulk carrier loading peculiar cgo like Steel with worst Stability calculation (taking into account on all Consumables factor for the port of disch in the 1st loading port itself , no back log later )
    -Gradual build up hidden stress and cracks which were not identified in the Dry Dock/Ship yard due recent quick trend on Dry docking period for a newly built vsl (MOL Comfort is Ex-APL vsl , 2008 built0
    -Lack of Seamanships skill now a days (part explanation goes to my no.1 factor )
    -Quick promotion with not having sufficient rank experience within the four ranks (Master/COFF/2OFF/3OFF),lack of stringent matrix what we have in Tankers
    -Triggered by rough weather
    -Overriding capability lost by Master despite ISM code clearly mentioned due commercial pressure Or may Fear of losing job despite MLC2006 in action
    Tks for yr study !

    • Michal

      I agree with yours comments / masters from ex soviet republick generaly with poor ability for commands / from oeners side vsl’s operetede by s/intdends intrested only in technical matters / so for yrs whole industry running in wrong direction /from my pov only by restore proper role of master is way for improvment etc….


  • Sergy

    captain of the ship “Storm” was awarded the title Hero of Russia

  • Matt

    I have a container on the still afloat section….I think….but very close to the break point….lets hope the rest can be recovered safely.

  • Belfast Gals

    To Roger Sario.

    The Titanic was ok when she left Belfast!!!!!!!!!

  • steve from virginia

    I think it’s notable the shipping company is racing to add structural reinforcements to the remaining ships of this class.

    ‘Tech improvements’ such as stronger steels aren’t used to increase the safety margin but to cut corners and lower costs, to allow the use of less material and to cheapen the design. This in turn makes the ship absolutely dependent upon proper loading and ballasting, accurate container weights, speed and course corrections underway in response to sea conditions and wind. Of course, the pressure on everyone involved in with the ship including container handlers onshore to turn the vessels around as fast as possible pushing any consequences onto a phantom ‘safety factor’ that might not be there or might be eroded by unknown factors such as susceptibility of certain ships to metal fatigue.

    Cut corners = sunk ships.

    Business today = cut corners.

  • Bob

    We have booked a container with APL, which was laoded in MOL comfort ,I would like to know if my containers is still there or Sunk? ,How could we check coz APL is not replying……

  • Fin

    We had numerous containers in that ship. I’m clad crew made their escape and are ok. No matter the cargo.
    Goods can always be replaced.

  • TONY

    OMG. terrible happen .. what is reason sinking ?

    i think that very bad make by mitsubishi

  • saravanan

    might b planning of containers would b improper

  • Nisar


    Bad & Sad

  • tsang

    “MOL Comfort” RIP

    Very sad

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