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 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.
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.”
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.
-by Rob Almeida and Mike Schuler