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Photo MRCC Mumbai

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

Update 7 (27 JUN): Stern Section Sinks [Photos]

Update 6 (25 JUN)Tugs Reach MOL Comfort, Sister Ship Inspections Commence in Earnest

UPDATE 5 (24 JUN): Tugs to Reach MOL Comfort

UPDATE 4: Quick update Saturday (22 JUN) from MOL.

The fore and aft parts are drifting near 14”35N 64’50”E and 13’22”N 62’48”E respectively in an east-northeast direction. The weather at the site is still adverse and a patrol boat is expected to arrive at the site around June 24.

MOL says some of the containers might be lost or damaged, but majority of the cargo are confirmed to be aboard the fore and aft part. Also two tugboats are heading toward the site and are expected to arrive around June 24.

MOL still confirms no large volume of oil leakage.

UPDATE 3: Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) notes today in a statement on their website that a salvage company has been formally contracted to perform the salvage of the two floating halves of the MOL Comfort.  They didn’t specify which company, but information we’ve attained seems to point to SMIT.

We’ve reached out to them this morning to confirm.

In addition, crew members from the ill-fated vessel arrived in the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka today.

Crew members from Mitsui O.S.K. Lines' MOL Comfort, a container ship that broke into two in the Indian Ocean, disembark from a ship at a port in Colombo June 20, 2013.

Crew members from Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ MOL Comfort disembark from a ship in Colombo, Sri Lanka on June 20, 2013. Image (c) REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Previous updates: On Wednesday, MOL notes that their investigation into the cause of the incident has commenced, in conjunction with the vessel’s shipbuilder, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

According to a report from a vessel operated by MOL, the two sections of the MOL Comfort are stably floating even under adverse weather.  The shipowner also pointed out in their statement this morning that “it has not been acknowledged that fire has occurred nor a large volume of oil has leaked.”

Tugboats have been arranged to tow the two halves of the vessel and a patrol boat has been dispatched from Jebel Ali to monitor the scene until tugs arrive at a later date. The patrol boat is expected to arrive on location June 24, a later update from MOL said.

At about 10:00 JST (05:00 local time) on June 19, 2013, the two fore and aft sections of the MOL Comfort, laden with containers, are drifting at about 2 knots near 12’57″N 61’10″E in an east-northeast direction.

Details of onboard containers of the MOL Comfort that might be lost overboard or damaged during the incident are being confirmed.

Image credit: MRCC Mumbai

Image credit: MRCC Mumbai

UPDATE 1 (18 JUN): The MRCC in Mumbai has tweeted saying that the sections are still afloat and are being monitored by the MV Sanderling Ace, another MOL managed vessel.

MOL update from Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

At about noon JST on Tuesday, June 18 (07:00 local time), the fore part of the hull is drifting around 13’00″N 60’40″E, and the aft part is about 19 miles southwest from that point. At present, both parts of the ship are laden with containers and drifting in an east-northeast direction. We are also arranging tugboats to tow both parts.

There are no indications as yet of a major oil leak near the site.

Details of onboard containers of the MOL Comfort that might be lost overboard or damaged during the incident are being confirmed.

gCaptain’s unofficial weather routing expert, Fred Pickhardt, has informed us that on Tuesday near the vessel, winds remained from the SW at about force 7 with waves of 5-6 meters.

MOL COMFORT AIS TRACK

Red circle indicates MOL Comfort’s position reported on 18 JUN 2013 at 20:18:12 GMT, as well as its track since approximately Saturday. At the time of this update, the ship was drifting at .9 knots, down from 2.5 knots earlier Tuesday. Full vessel position report HERE.

mol comfort position

Satellite AIS data courtesy PortVision. Click image for larger.

ORIGINAL (17 JUN): 

his photo of the MOL Comfort shows considerable hogging. Image credit: IANS

This photo of the MOL Comfort shows considerable hogging. Image credit: IANS

MOL Comfort Suffers Broken Back, Sinks Off Yemen Remains Adrift Off Yemen

26 crewmembers of an MOL containership were forced to abandon ship Monday off Yemen after the ship suffered from catastrophic hull failure and reportedly sank broke in two.

The MV MOL Comfort, an 8,000 TEU-type containership cracked in half about 200 miles from the Yemeni coast at about 12’30″N 60’E while enroute from Singapore to Jeddah 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.

According to a report by IANS News, the Indian Coast Guard in Mumbai diverted three vessels in the area to assist. The MV Yantian Express was first to arrive on scene and rescued the survivors.  The 2008-built MOL Comfort sank a short time later, the report said.

Weather at the time was strong winds and seas up to six meters.

The ship’s operator, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, says that an Emergency Control Headquarters has been established for the incident and MOL is taking company-wide measures to settle the matter. The MOL statement said that damage was “extensive” and that details of the incident were still being confirmed.

Image courtesy Twitter user @nalam65

Image courtesy Twitter user @nalam65

A Catastrophic Structural Failure

From a naval architecture standpoint, this is a puzzling situation.  Ships are designed to handle long period and large waves that crest on the bow and stern and have a trough amidships. This creates a sagging situation that puts extreme tension on the keel and compression at deck level. The opposite, “hogging” situation occurs when the crest of the wave moves to the center of the ship and the trough of the waves are at bow and stern.

The repeat flexing of the ship in these perfectly timed waves is likely what caused the loss of this vessel.  In the photo above, a perfect example of hogging is shown, where the bow and the stern are both lying in the troughs of two waves.

It should not have happened however.  Ships are built to handle this situation and engineering rules are followed to ensure the transverse “section modulus” of the vessel is sufficient to handle these extreme stresses imposed by nature.  There are other possibilities however…

The loading of the containers on board may have exacerbated the situation.  Although the loading of the containers appears even in the photo, the weight distribution of the containers may not have been even.  Had heavier containers been loaded on the bow and stern and lighter ones in the center of the ship, the vessel may have been placed in a hogging situation before she even set sail.  It’s speculation of course to say one way or another, but assuming that she met class requirements, it’s one possible explanation for what happened.

-Mike Schuler and Rob Almeida

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    • 巧合

      どの鉱石山猿について…?

    • Gman

      This was a Japanese built & managed vessel -imagine the low budjet honky tonk shipyards products…

      • Jurassic Sparks

        I sailed on a lot of Japanese built ships and they were far better than any UK built ones I worked on. Please don’t spout about what you apparently know very little.

      • Shawn

        Are you kidding me? Japan isn’t China. Shut your ignorant trap.

        • Sky Clipper

          @Jurassic Sparks
          @Shawn

          I think you guys jumped the gun here! Poster Gman is only saying that this was a HQ Japanese built ship and wonder what would have been the result if this was built in a “low budjet honky tonk shipyard”

          Chill!

  • Robert Lindsay

    This also looks like a case of old age and serious corrosion.

    • Robert Lindsay

      It says that it was built in’08 but the ships are being built these days to last 10 yrs with low grade steel. They have rust and corrosion everywhere.

      • John

        Ship are build to last 10 years ?
        A ship is not a car.

        • Jurassic Sparks

          I have sailed on ships which were over 25years old – and even though they were often rustbuckets, they were perfectly safe.

    • Terra Bites

      Built in 2008, very unlikely….

      • Zhu Sq

        biilt in 2008….it is young vsl

    • jacques duboiw

      How can you classify a ship that was built in 2008 as OLD… You… Are One Stupid P:erson…

      • MotherFucker

        shut the fuck up woodpecker!

    • jacques duboiw

      How can you classify a ship that was built in 2008 as OLD… You… Are One Stupid Person…

    • John

      The vessel was build in 2008.

      Better to check some sources before you draw your conclusions from a very unclear picture.

      • Jurassic Sparks

        5 years is relatively young for a ship. And Japanese/SouthKorean yards produce a lot of very good vessels. This may have been built elsewhere – China for instance, and never having sailed in a Chinese built ship I can’t comment on the build/materials quality.

        The two worst (albeit 1950s constructions) I sailed in were American and Russian built.

        • Torezo

          This vsl is 5 years old and was built by one of the biggest Japanese ship yard.

    • Jurassic Sparks

      Surely Chief Officer has final say on loading?

      • Sky Clipper

        On paper, yes!
        In real life, I don’t think he get’s so much of a chance when the gantries start working all bays!!

      • Jurassic Sparks

        containers weighed as they go on board? That’s the best laugh I’ve had for a week.

        • Capt. Jonathan Z. Flores

          Steve, what are talking about?

          • Capt. Jonathan Z. Flores

            My bad – What are you talking about?

      • jacques dubois

        NO STEFAN…YOU DOUCHE BAG…EVERY CONATAINER IS WEIGHED AND ITS LOCATION ON BOARD IS MONITORED VERY CLOSELY BY A LOAD MASTER….

        • Sky Clipper

          Simply NOT TRUE.
          Containers are not weighed in MANY ports – while they are ‘supposed’ to be weighed, the Cargo Agent can enter the weight (you know what he’ll do) and that number is taken as the weight for time pressures and to ‘reduce cost’. Oh, what a world we live in where profit is the main motive.

        • MotherFucker

          Fuck off dimwit!

      • Jurassic Sparks

        at last, Chuck, someone who knows ships. 30 years at sea, 48 vessels from general cargo, oil tankers, gas tankers, chemi/product tankers, bulkers, OBOs, boxboats, reefers of all shapes, flags and sizes… make me laugh some of the “observations” posted on here by people who seemingly know little or nothing about the working of ships.

      • jacques dubois

        YOU ARE A COMPLETE IDIOT…JUST GO SIT IN THE CORNER AND GIVE YOURSELF A HAND JOB WHICH IS WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT…

        • Sky Clipper

          Oh, I see you are visiting here for fun. You are on ignore from me now, Sir!

        • MotherFucker

          Fuck off you cunt!

  • http://www.twitter.com/lotsemann Alexandre da Rocha

    Hard to understand how a 5-year-old ship could collapse like that… This must be throughly investigated.

  • Govind

    It was bound to happen..
    Low quality officer & less knowledge of job..
    Rather i would say MOL saved few doller$$$
    But ultimately paid high returns..

    Its simple making more profit.. The people MBA guys & HR who are sitting office they “Zero” knowledge & experience about shipping. People can give ideas to owner who to save manning cost.. Means placing cheap labour on ship. Low quality.
    Companies r making profit but nt ready to pay more seafarer..

    This is nothing…days r nt away when company like MOL will shut down if two three oil accident take place.

    Nywys & always lesson have learned through hard way..

    MOL will now think whom to hire…

    • vinayak

      I do agree with u govind,,,Now the question arises whose gonna speak for the sailors!!! I have been on its sister vessel,,M Clas ,P class as well E class,!!!But still cant blv it sunk!! I think finally it will all come to chief officer for loading !!! LOL !!! !!!IF owners has less money buying ships,better buy boats rather than buying ships!!! ” Sailor’s Life HAS VALUE,,,,,” All they saved was a couple of dollars but what they lost is Reputation and ofcourse Sailor’s trust (Which has no value) LOL !!!

      • Sky Clipper

        @govind
        @vinayak

        You guys seem spiteful of MOL.
        Have you been on the bench too long?
        :-)

    • Alexander

      Dont talk rubbish. Entire crew were saved by the Master & you call it low quality.I donot know what nationality seafarer you are and maybe you were not hired by MOL but stop making bad remarks. Alexander- Master Mariner

    • Rickra

      The danger of partially submerged containers pose to navigation is another consideration. These can migrate for months and damage or sink smaller craft.

    • sumit prasad

      what does bad navigation mean, by the way?
      lets sail that way so she doesnt break?
      the things you mentioned should be handled at the construction stage. those factors while the vessel is in service should be the seafarers’ consideration only for the purpose of achieving comfort and economy.

      • Nk

        Double the price of building the ship if you want it idiot proof.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE_ri8PkihE willem

    watch and see what these ships must endure

  • Cristiano

    I cannot assume anything since I was not assigned aboard of ship however the root cause looks like wrongly container loading and ballasting. The snapshot says something about it.

  • Peter Wright

    There must be major concern over the 4500 containers that might contain noxious chemicals, dangerous goods or may just float free.

  • Joe T.

    With today’s technology, I doubt the vessel was loaded incorrectly and if it was, the blame goes very deep and back into the offices of the shipping company that should have been cognizant of the loaded vessels condition. Technology allows the strategic placement of cargo in order to allow cycling from port to port with a minimum of shifting containers, Cargo Max and drafts taken on arrival and departure are used routinely. I would go back in the ship’s history and look for abnormalities, hard running in unideal conditions, storms etc could have accumulative affects on the ship’s structure. Couple that with cheap steel or construction processes and you could have a failure. Another angle is resonance, the ship’s propellor speed and length of waves might offer clues.

  • http://W3C.ORG DANIELSHOMES.FAMILY.ORG

    Dari kelompok Pelaut Indonesia Bekerja Dikapal Asing:
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    ————dc02ds————

    • Dragon C

      これは“粗大事”!

      粗大事了。

      So for Kawasaki it is wisely to stop emerge with MHI .

      • John Aster

        Hopefully a thorough audit will be initaited by the authorities on NKK classification society. These lads offer the cheapest price for newbuilding projects, but on some projects hardly show up during construction…Someone has to look into it…finally!

        • James Pepper

          Agree your comments re NKK but still surprised a yard as hood as Mitsubishi HI would have built a crock. Something wrong somewhere especially for a 5 year old vessel. Wonder if she was just due for her SS. If just done then very serious questions to be asked.

          • Myra S

            The class renewal survey was done in May.

  • cpt ramdas

    Ship handling was improper with swell on bow, in addition undeclared weights, high stresses on dep from jeddah, esp bm and tm, not slowing down speed and chg course are all reasons

  • aman

    main cause is lack of knowledge even i sail with ukraine officers poor knowledge they can buy tickets easily one of master from ukraine said thst his masters oral is only for 10 mints.so sad news

  • Capt.Sastry

    I agree With Capt.Ramdas, These Ships are Capable of doing Speeds in excess of 17Kts , Imagine the vessel doing 15Kts and above in such heavy weather and maintaining a Steady course on Auto Pilot,will Synchronise perfectly with the Waves and Text Book fashion disaster happens.It is not Possible that a 5Year Old Vessel Steel can corrode so rapidly,Especially a container V/L.Hope the Voyage Data Recorder has been found which should have floated free from the vessel. The VDR will give the much required input.
    The Data on Dynamic Loads on the V/l which increase with the High Speeds are not available on Board for the Master to take informed Decisions.
    A Point for the Naval Arch Engineers to consider.
    The Max Data the Naval Arch Engineers Think enough for the Master is – SEA GOING – CONDITION MAX STRESSES- SF & BM TO KEEP BELOW 100%.
    I am Very Happy that all the Crew have been rescued and are Safe.

    • Captain Shailendra Ratore

      Since the stern is still afloat , the VDR would be intact on the monkey island.
      As per me the cause of this accident : 1) Unequal distribution of weight 2) Extensive Bending moments 3) Wrong shiphandling in the extreme weather conditions .

    • junior vessel planner

      see my below comment, use google for your personal enjoyment not passing judgement on others.

    • Jurassic Sparks

      final decision on loading was always with the Chief Mate thence Master in my seafaring days, not shoreside people. Without intending to offend, several recent maritime “incidents” have involved vessels with Russian Officers and Master.

      • Alexander

        Please donot involve a particular nationality. There have been many accidents from all other nationalities. ENTIRE CREW IS SAFE. Alexander- Master Mariner

    • Capt.John

      Dont blame the planners and ship mates.With so much advancement in shore and ship loadicator softwares and the safety management policies in place, one cannot exceed the stress limits. Stress is definitely the cause which investigators will check the reasons for it.

    • Arquarain

      The VALE vessel was a BULK vessel of 400,000gt. This CONTAINER ship was 86.000gt.

      The VALE ship was built in China, the containership in Japan.

      Two VERY different vessels.

      But as a surveyor you would know that. ;)

      • rjm9pn

        two very different vessels indeed! but:

        the Vale bulk carriers are not 400,000gt – they are just over 400,000DWT and around 199,000gt!

        big difference?

    • Fare East russian

      suck slow @ carefully, my yang baby, while the gentelemen discussing…

    • Fare East russian

      2 anonymous

  • TOP BOSS

    @Sujit Kumar Das – I agree with Anonymous, If CO is not checking plans for BM/SF/TM on receipt of plan then they are entirely to blame for an accident (you stated “They don’t even check the stress upon receiving the Pre stowage Plan”. Captain’s should have any CO who is not checking plans properly sacked.
    Whilst Ship Managers for Lines will en-devour to maximize Vessel uplift there are few if none that I have come across that would do so if it put at risk the Ships crew or broke international conventions/ legislation.
    Owners let alone charterers can not force a Captain to Sail his Vessel, If Captain/ CO are not 100% satisfied that the plan is safe they should take necessary action and NEVER put at risk the safety of their Vessel or Crew.
    It is easy to play blame game and say that shore personal who do not have seafaring experience must be responsible – however it is the Captain who is ultimately responsible- and if he is aware that shore personal do not have seafaring experience then wouldn’t Ship’s Officers be extra vigilant when checking plans??

    You are coming to a conclusion very quickly that shore-side personal are to blame, what factual evidence do you have? you are just GUESSING?
    Obviously a full investigation will take place, at which time the cause will become apparent – however until then I am sure that Stakeholders would appreciate if the public kept their opinions and guesses to themselves.

    • junior vessel planner

      Sounds like Sujit does not like shore cadet planners. TOP BOSS are you a cadet? our TOP BOSS cadet does make a nice point though that any vessel planner first responsibility when submitting prestow plan is crew and vessel safety. Obviously sujit required to learn a little more about this prior to pouring out his heart on a subject that he may have googled.

  • frank gao

    It’s accident waiting to happen when companies like MOL with staff with less knowledge and experience from planning the stowage to loading at the scene. The torsion force maybe at the very dangeous point. No high salary to hire elites to cover their propoties, all their caring is market and sale dep staff and put all dirty warter onto opeartions.

  • Paul G.

    Pardon possible naivete, but if ships are not designed to handle improper loaded weight distribution might their design parameters(or construction materials) be way too marginal?
    Six meter seas, moderately heavy and common, imagine what ten or more meter seas would have done. Would expect something like this in really extreme weather with older boat.

  • rifraf

    bow looks low in the water in the photos after it broke in two. Could be just an effect of the buoyancy or it could be that there’s water (a lot of it) in the compartments fwd. If a vent trunk was damaged or a hatch or door was unsecured and the ship proceeded at speed into a storm then a lot of water could get in tne bow spaces – possibly enough put the bending moments over safe levels if it was already close to seagoing max. combined with storm stresses and you could get structural failure…..

  • AnnonNA

    It is very difficult to identify the cause so early, as TOP BOSS says we will need to wait for the investigation. The obvious things mentioned should not cause a catastrophic failure in a fairly new ship, in Class, from a good yard, operated by a reasonable company.

    Corrosion or structural damage are unlikely for a fairly new ship, especially so soon after the 1st special survey. Yes the waves and weather were heavy, and yes the ship was likely loaded by the planners to near maximum hog bending moments, and yes she may have been driven fast and hard. But none of that is particularly unusual these days. The ships’ bending and fatigue strength are designed to take 15 or 20 years of this type of service.

    The issue of inaccurate (mostly underestimated) container weights has always bothered me. But now that it looks like both halves of the ship have survived, the experts should be be able to look in to this issue too, as well as the fracture mechanics of the failure, and the VDR.

    It’s usually some combination of issues and events, but there must be a weak link here somewhere. I suspect we’ll know in a couple of months.

  • Igor

    if u pay peanuts – u get monkies.

    • 巧合

      Very very wise comment, bravo mate!

      • C

        一分钱一分货。

  • Dubby49

    !2 deg N 60 deg 30 min E. This puts the stricken vessel smack in the Pakistan Rescue Region. Why is all the information and advice emanating from Mumbai?

    Reading all the comments here makes one wonder whether all the marvellous software available for planning container stows integrates strength and stability calculations.

    • Jack

      Distress call must have been received by Mumbai RCC and thats the reason they coordinated the rescue.

  • Ricky

    Some very clever people here who seem to know exactly how this happened. We should tell the Marine Investigators just to take a look at these comments and they’ll have the answers, no need for a formal investigation.

    Seriously, some of the immediate blaming on the crew, accusing them of being low quality and lacking in knowledge. Some comments by people who clearly have never even walked past a container ship, never mind sailed on one.

    We should be supporting our colleagues out there and concerning ourselves with whether the ships we are sailing on are fit for purpose. The report will be an interesting read.

    • Good On ya!

      I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks this way! (Wouldn’t that be common sense though?)

      People that have NO Idea what measures were taken, exactly how the Crew worked nor how the condition of the vessel prior to loading/sailing can suddenly come up with such amazing deductions from (at best) phone pictures.

      Without the skill set of those who specialize in this type of incident (and nope – it’s not the first time this type of thing has happened – and probably won’t be the last) will do their research since they can at this point recover the damaged vessel.

    • Jack

      I agree with Ricky. This is serious stuff and some of the comments are immature. There has to be a difference between opinion and judgement.

  • Rami

    need to look in ship’s history.. whether she suffered earlier
    structural damage / major repair..

  • http://www.sethtane.com seth@sethtane.com

    In a hog / sag hull girder failure like this it’s longitudinal strength that matters, not transverse section modulus.

    • 巧合

      悲劇的な、非常に悲劇的な仲間!

  • ari

    fuck off safety procedure,, all is’t nothing however they are coming only for money and Business, seaman knows that already. they buy chipper of new ships then they put high of standard safety management on board,, but when accident coming they blame seaman again and again,, check that ships construction, what kind of standard of classification of the ship,

  • John Aster

    A clear warning signal who are willing to go for cheap classification society like NKK with inexperienced surveyors and “full flexibility” – even on safety rules – money and market share go first for NKK, people’s safety is irrelevant!

    A big NO to NKK expansion in Europe!

  • http://captainm.co.za Glyn Morgan

    Bad planning and bad design are not my guesses. My guess is bad corrosion in the holds, bulkheads and tanks. In my experience more attention is given to looks than unseen rust.

    • http://captainm.co.za Glyn Morgan

      The SW Monsoon is blowing, the ship would be rolling heavily. I doubt whether they would be doing max speed. Ship-planners do not go over the limits.

  • Zibi

    I had items on that ship and wasn’t insurennced :(. what now?

    • Alan

      Go to the Yemeni coast and wait for your container to wash ashore.

  • Alan

    Does anybody know the shipyard and hull number this ship?

    • David

      Mitushishi Heavy Industries, Hull number 2234. Built at Nagasaki.

  • Ricardo Moreno

    Please wait until the investigation has been completed. Jumping at conclusions is not the way to deal with these problems. One can understand the frustration and rage caused by the gods know what commissions or omissions. The important thing is that no lives were lost and that everybody will be weighing the results of the accident investigation.

    Ricardo Moreno, Master Mariner

  • http://www.granhurt.com.pl Nagrobki

    Some people are more unlucky than others. All the best to those who lost their cargos.

    • http://GreatEarthNavigation.Com Captain Robert Scott

      Is the master on half pay now?

  • Enomoto

    Well, well, well it did – as expected – happen and thank you that the crew survived – this time.

    Based on news received until now are a couple of points in my opinon interesting

    1) Container weight (declared vs actual)
    2) Poor seamanship
    3) Shore based – bay plan loading
    4) Stress during loading/discharging operation
    5) Ballasting

    The weather was not too bad (re picture link). Heavy swell, yes

    According to pictures from the scene was the weather not too bad. Some swell yes. Nothing compared with North Pacific during winter. However – could slow steaming be a factor? Those boxships was designed to go at much higher speed.

    Faulty construction? She was build 2008 MHI Nagasaki as APL Russia. Classification Nippon Kaiji Kyokai.

    Right now are both sections still afloat. Interesting! Maybe the Russian master and high ranking officers left a bit too early.

    The next couple of weeks will be interesting and costly.

    I’m betting that Maersk are following this matter very closely. The near catastrophic failure a few month ago with Emma Maersk and the new Triple-E boxships would keep me alert.

    —-

    Picture link:
    http://newindianexpress.com/nation/Indian-Coast-Guards-help-rescue-26-crew-from-shipwreck-near-Yemen/2013/06/17/article1639547.ece

  • Louis Vest

    Anyone who thinks the current system of ship construction and maintenance supervised by competing class societies who work for the shipyard during construction and for the owner afterwards should read Jack Devanney’s book: http://www.c4tx.org/ctx/pub/tromedy2.pdf
    by J Devanney – 2006 – The Tankship Tromedy. The Impending Disasters in Tankers. (Free download)

    It was written about tankers, but applies to all types as far as construction and class supervision goes. All sailors should read this book.

  • nti

    container ships suffering from bending moments usually near acccommodation that shearing forces becoming bigger.my opinion is that the ship broke due to bad loading condition,fail of stability calculation at the point that vessel broke:1)probably vessel to knew that these forces exceeded and in order to take all the cargo resume voyage normaly,2)the vessel’s loading calculation program did not calculate the correct forces into the fallen flame site..

  • Aquarius

    Very amazing to see these two pieces of ship still floating, that is what called my attention, could it be they were stick together with glue?

  • adrian

    well i see this as maybe a case of synchronization whereby the length of swell is same as vessel so crests at bow and stern and troughs at midships unsupported… as a ship handler it is prudent to avoid such uneven stresses for prolonged periods as in this case the midship section is unsupported unless the master alters course or speed to change the interaction. just a thought..

  • adrian

    ….and uneven loads lol! why not!

  • Etienne

    Well it’s obviously not possible to argue about the causes right now but the strangeness of this accident should put a strong pressure on MOL to urgently conduct extensive surveys on the 7 sisterships I think they have in fleet.

    I’m not a specialist, and Mistubishi are not the worse ship makers on the planet, but that echoes with warnings heard about the huge number of containerships ordered from 2002 and 2007.

  • Matt

    Looks like Japan just joined China on the production quality list

  • Kalapa Gading

    We, the senior officers routinely check for cracks on our ship. We always find them, and have them welded. Stress cracks do happen. Since there is no apparent cause for this accident, this came to my mind.

    Sharing information like this make me more aware of the importance of doing these preventative checks and maintenance. Thank God no one was hurt.

  • K

    Too much workload on officers. Too much paperwork. Too much cost cutting. Too much non essential workload on officers. bring back the radio officer who shd be dedicated gmdss officer and also handle all port papers, victualling, bonded stores and port papers for arrival/ departure. The minimum manning certificate needs a serious rethink. The stability records on departure will give a good idea as to what went wrong with this ship. Vessel planners to stop pushing chief officers to sail with more than 100% Stress. Chief officers and captains to report such planners to head office. Sadly sometimes the managers are afraid to take it up with charterers… Was this ship in rough weather prior to this incident? Maybe cracks had already developed and once she encountered this rough weather it was the final straw and she broke into two..was ballast exchange in progress and was stress calculated for each stage..ie each tank to empty/ refill? Too many possibilities. Must wait for investigation report

    • bob

      Here, I summarized for you.

      “Must wait for investigation report.”

    • Jurassic Sparks

      K – as a retired Radio Officer with 30 years sea service, I can only agree. I miss the sea, it was always what I wanted since watching ships sail in and out of the Mersey from the age of around 4 or 5. Always wondered where they had been, where they were going. Sailed on 48 ships, and worked on 2 Northsea rigs. great for gettin away from the naggin wife an’ all! :-)

  • oldman

    The unthinkable happened!

  • capt. avraham yasur

    all vessels over 200 mtr. should be fitted with stress gauges in the bow area and the center of buoyancy and engine room bulkhead area. the gauges will be connected to a computer that will give ship’s command the BM & Sheering Forces while loading in port. at sea, if stresses are high, the system will alarm the captain to change course/speed in order to reduce the hull stresses.

  • Mark Bromwich

    Lots of theories here, but what about the ballast management plan? Was the vessel changing ballast at the time in compliance with the BMP?? We all have to do it, and we all know that some people take short cuts!
    When I was on container ships, the shore did the complete stowage plan, and all we got was a list of containers, and the location, no other details.
    Just a comment. We have to wait for the official enquiry, we can surmise till the cow’s come home, and will be miles off!

  • Concerned

    From readily available info this vessel underwent class renewal in May 2013, the rule requirement would allow close up visual inspection and thickness readings, if necessary…I would expect minimal corrosion, but would be looking for fatigue cracks at soft toes and brackets…and always in the mid-ship, fore and aft sections.
    Unfortunately fatigue failure takes a skill and degree of luck to spot during inspection. It takes a lot of courage to stop a vessel for what you think might be happening. At a cost finite element analysis is available at new building and later in life, but will only be prediction and cannot model the vast number of possible loaded and partial ballast conditions that the hull will experience. The yards that build the ships, with the best will in the world cannot inspect every weld…dynamic hull stress monitoring has been tried and installed on various vessels since the early 90’s that I know of…cost and reliability of the equipment has always plagued this oh so useful tool.
    The person that mentioned ballast exchange introduces a valid, although maybe not relevant point.
    All suggestions about actual load distribution and blame along with uninsured cargo have long since been the topic of conversations, I don’t suppose this will change now…bigger faster box boats are on their way and as for crew competency neither is this a new topic. Risk against profit, the problem is knowing the extent and nature of the risk. MOL Singapore are down as the managers, but it could just as easily been any management company working within a budget. Inspection of the Sisters who ever operates them should be the next step….aircraft of the same type involved in lesser incidents would be grounded on a world wide basis until inspection was completed…but ships and seamen are unfortunately not considered in the same light. It boils down to who in the policing industry of class, PSC, flag etc. has the teeth to bite back

    • “Truth Team”

      Could this be the work of the anti-Christ…? Cause it looks so!

  • Parshenkov Philipp

    HEADING NW’LY WITH THE SEA AND WIND BLOWING FROM SW,UNLIKELY IT COASED THE BREAKAGE.MAYBE USING H.O FROM MIDDLE TANKS AND NOT COMPINSATING IT WITH THE BALLAST WITH LONGTERM EXSISTING HULL PROBLEM MIGHT COASED IT CRACK.WITH TODAY SAVING BUNKERING PEAPLE AFRAID TO TAKE 1000M3 OF BALLAST THINKING IT WILL EFFECT THAT SIZE OF SHIP’S SPEED AND BUNKER CONSUMPTION.

  • Garcia

    Enomoto came up with a couple of relevant points.

    The weather condition was not real that bad as videoclip from The Times of India indicate (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/Merchant-vessel-splits-into-two-off-Mumbai-coast/videoshow/20635938.cms).

    From experience will I put my money on poor ballast management!

    As Enomoto rightly put it »Maybe the Russian master and high ranking officers left a bit too early«.

    Many questions to ask when (hopefully) the tugs get a line onboard and bring her in to port somewhere

    timesofindia.indiatimes. The speed, poor b and the

    Typical hogging scenario where the bow and the stern are both lying in the troughs of two waves and bad weight distribution created this catastrophe

  • http://yahoo Herb Giles

    This is what happens when a water carrier moves all their Marine Operation functions to India. This will happen again.

    • Alexander

      This ship was planned by APL Singapore for 4 years followed by MOL Hongkong currently for last one year.Their India operation center is an excellent team with safety as top agenda. MOL planning centers around the world are better than many other shipping lines for safety. Alexander- Master Mariner

    • RiDo

      what are you smoking sir?

      • RiDo

        (that was for Herb Giles)

  • http://yahoo Herb Giles

    The World Shipping Councel is pushing the IMO for mandatory container weight certificates and most water carriers are opposed. Go figure.

    • keith

      hey idiot, it is the shipper who are opposing. not the water carriers.

  • http://www.theflotsamdiaries.org Harold Johnson – The Flotsam Diaries

    Have any of the missing containers been found on the sea’s surface? Or have they all gone down already? It appears as though one entire row (the 4th row forward of the bridge) is missing from the two ship halves. At about 6 stacked high and what seems like 20 across, that would seem to be ~120 containers lost to the ocean. Is that in the ballpark?

  • Jurassic Sparks

    as far as I remember from my seafaring days, the Chief Officer was responsible for ensuring cargo is loaded safely and evenly, no port or starboard list, no hogging or sagging and of course all deck cargo was firmly secured. He has the final word, and is directly responsible to the Master. I’d be very surprised if the shoreside wallahs would be allowed to override his decision. Just sayin’

  • Shahzad Saiyed

    A glaring example of excessive Bending Moments and Shearing Forces brought on by incorrect loading condition / calculations.
    Surprisingly, vsl sailed from Singapore >>>>>

  • http://www.jmlamps.com Jacky

    We have 100pcs induction floodlights in the ship and now they are broken, we are so sad
    God, help me!!

    We are professional in doing induction lamp and led light that have passed by CE/ROHS/CCC/FCC/UL
    In here, we do hope our customer can understand and keep in touch with us

    And we do hope the shiping company can give us compensation

    If any friend is also happen, welcome to contact us and work together on the case
    JIEMING OPTOELECTRONIC CO., LIMITED
    SHENZHEN JIEMINGLANG ELECTRONIC CO., LIMITED
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    Jacky

  • Naval Architect

    Together with her sister ships, MOL Comfort was the first container ship classified by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai to utilize ultra high-strength steel with an yield strength of 470 MPa in her hull structure.[6]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOL_Comfort

    High strength steel is not used in ships for a reason, low fatigue life!

  • Sagar

    Intersting to read all the comments from people who are experienced and some who are just guessing, also some entertainment with people lambasting each other. I observed one writer who mentioned the vessel was involved in ballast water exchange. This is very interesting as a vessel of this size if on a return voyage would carry considerable ballast onboard and could also be a contributory factor to the bending and sagging of the vessel. just some food for thought-however nothing would be more definite than a proper investigation as all these will be considered as possible cause.

  • MEMAN

    I heard on the news , it was carrying huge weapon cargo headed from Singapore to Jordan and then to rebels in Syria. US owns cargo.

    • Dan White

      Yes and who would be able to and benefit from sinking that vessel? Russian subs. This is a classic back break torpedo attack made famous by nazi uboats in ww2. The torpedo would explode well below the vessel using the shock wave to do the damage, not the explosion. There would be no evidence of burns or any other explosive damage, just a boat broken in two. You are all very easily misled.

  • Castlestone

    What surprises me is the early “desertation” of the crew.
    Quite unbelievable.

  • madeline margaret

    I believe that this is a ship that has been built in pre-fabricated sections. What needs to be checked is whether she has cracked at one of the pre-fab “joints”. Very likely, but only investigation will tell for sure.

  • RiDo

    As seen on wiki, “Together with her sister ships, MOL Comfort was the first container ship classified by #### to utilize ultra high-strength steel with an yield strength of 470 MPa in her hull structure”
    Is that an area of concern? world first 470 N/mm2 steel for a container vessel? too much tolerances given away?? calculation gone wrong?
    Cos its capacity is 8,110 TEU and it was carrying 7,041 TEU only that day. So even if some containers were overweight it would not breach the threshold (keeping in mind the FOS they build in it)
    Also note that each of the fore and aft part was floating at nearly even keel.
    If the weight was an issue there would be some trim in the broken sections.

  • Ozee316

    The Ship was headed for Jeddah. Assad has claimed that it secretly had US weapons on it that were to be transfered to the Rebel FSA through Jordan. It is not outside the realm of possibility for Russia (on Syria’s behalf) to sink that ship. A small torpedo or something.

  • MEMAN

    To Harith Nasri:

    Why would you roll out the possibility of weapons? The US had done the same before with Alqaeda in Afghanistan when it was in their interest to supply weapons to the rebels. These rebels are now fighting the West’s dirty war.

  • Dan White

    As I stated earlier in a reply, who would benefit most from sinking this vessel that was possibly if not most likely loaded with weapons headed for the Syrian rebels?

    The Russians and their subs. They most likely used a classic back breaker torpedo attack made famous by nazi uboats in ww2. They would detonate well below the vessel using only the shockwave to snap the boat in two.

    This would leave no evidence of explosive devices or burns for civilian outfits to become alarmed about and would point them in the direction that all of you are talking about, natural and human causes.

  • Capt. Jerry

    5 years old vessel built in Japan – it’s unlikely that wrong
    construction was the reason of this disaster.
    In my opinion, the reason might be ballast exchange operations.
    Improper pumping sequence, valve hang-up, pump failure etc,
    may cause considerable contravention of BM and SF, what together
    with swell (SW monsoon) leaded to frequent and extensive hogging situations
    and finally let vessel break into two parts.
    Time of passage from Malacca to Aden Bay, may not be enough to do such
    opertions (which requires proper distance from shore and depth),
    and maybe Ch/off made attempt to speed up operations emptying
    to many neighbouring tanks in same time?
    Thanks of God crew is saved, and they can answer many questions from marine investigators.
    Containers vessels, even if looks ‘full’, are not always ‘down’
    because of weight of loaded containers.
    So they need to take some ballast in order e.g. to immerse propeller or bowthruster,
    adjust trim fore-aft, reduce list or to reduce BM and SF.

  • Steamwolf

    Whilst containers are supposed to be pre-weighed, and then stowed on board in a way ordained by a properly constructed stowage plan, which should take into account vessel stresses, stability, discharge ports etc etc, the weights are not reliably. I have sailed across the Atlantic on a container vessel that we could not get to float ‘upright’. No matter how careful we were with trimming, the ship would take on a 3degree plus list, either to port or starboard. Any attempt to correct this by ballast transfer would produce a list to the opposite side. Luckily the weather was good, because this condition indicates inherent instability in the vessel.
    The chief officer and I did some investigations into this, using a computer based stability and loading programme, and at my suggestion, he substituted fully loaded containers for a number of containers which were loaded just prior to departure, an addition to the original loading plan. These containers were stated to be empty, and customs sealed as empty, and loaded Onto the top level of deck stow.
    When full was substituted for empty for these boxes, the exact characteristics that we were experiencing were predicted by the computer programme.
    The chief officer and I made a point of observing the portainer load gauge when these containers were unloaded in the USA. each one registered in excess of 38tons! The containers had been loaded in Italy. The vessel was on charter.
    Luckily ships crew are not responsible for a customs certificated and sealed container, as it was then pretty obvious that an undeclared cargo had been transhipped.
    No, you can not be certain what is in a container, nor be certain of the weight. Who knows exactly how the Mol Comfort had been loaded.
    However, surely here must have been some indications of impending structural problems, before the complete failure conditions shown. An indication perhaps of Bridge/control room syndrome, where ships deck officers and engineer officers never leave the isolation of their protected enclaves. Push button engineers were starting to appear in my time at sea, those who had no idea what or where the equipment was that they were controlling from the engine control room, along with deck officers who could not find their way to the engine room!
    (Ex Chief Engineer, D.O.T 1st Class Steam Certificate)

  • jasmine

    I think all of your comment was right,but all i can see is its perfectly weighting balance, its still afloat even she is broke in two pieces.so no crews to be blame..may be only weak center integrity is the reason…God is good all the time…seafarers…

  • http://dingo.org Dingo

    I bet it got hit by some sort of submarine, because it was carrying the weapons to the terrorists in Syria. It’s all GOOD!

  • Old Timer

    Now retired and glad to be out of it. My humble opinion counts as nothing but as Brit ex master, I was replaced by Polish capt because he did the job for half of what they paid me. Blame the management, couldn’t care less about the ship, or the crew. Accountants all of them, only interested in making money.(The ship hit another one two days after I left)
    Two thirds of the loading people responsible for checking on container weights didn’t know the difference between AN OUNCE AND A TONNE, BUT WHAT THE COMPUTOR SAID TAKEN AS FACT. Whats the betting the ship will get the blame!

  • Captain O

    Sorry – I really screwed up. This is what happens when I am at the helm.

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  • SANJEEV

    hi
    did the ship carry refrigerators and footballs as cargo ?

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