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.
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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February 17, 2021
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