MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013.

MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013 prior to breaking in two pieces.

TOKYO- Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced Thursday plans to phase-out and upgrade the six sister vessels to MOL Comfort, which broke in two and partially sunk Thursday in the Arabian Sea.

PHOTOS: MOL Comfort Stern Section Sinks

In a statement on their website, MOL said that together with shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and classification society ClassNK, a thorough investigation will continue into the cause of the MOL Comfort incident.

The statement added that the company has decided to take extra precaution as it may take some time to identify the cause. As such, the six sister vessels in operation have already began operational precautions to reduce the stress on the hull as upgrades are planned.  MOL says that the vessels sufficiently meet safety standards required by ClassNK, but the company will begin to pull them from service to conduct hull strengthening upgrades as soon as possible.

Sister vessels to the MOL Comfort include: MOL Creation, MOL Charisma, MOL Celebration, MOL Courage, MOL Competence, MOL Commitment.

The vessels will be phased-out from service for the upgrade work and sailing schedules will be revised accordingly, the statement said.

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. The stern section sank with about 1,700 containers after nine days adrift in inclement weather.

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