Fire now threatens the remaining part of the stricken MOL Comfort.
The tugboat towing the fore part reported that a fire broke out from the rear end around 0030 UTC (0930 JST) on July 6. The tugboat and two rescue boats have tried to bring the fire under control, but as of 0400 UTC were unsuccessful amid continuing bad weather. The salvage company has sought help from the Indian Coast Guard, MOL said, and the patrol boat Samudra Prahari, which is equipped with an external firefighting system, is heading to the scene.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has appointed London-based Lloyd's Register as a technical consultant to determine the cause of the MOL Comfort incident.
On June 17, the container ship split apart in bad weather approximately 200 nautical miles from Yemen. The aft part of the vessel later sank, but the fore part was being towed to port, with the majority of its cargo aboard, when fire broke out.
MOL said it will seek counsel concerning measures to determine the cause. MOL already had started an investigation with the MOL Comfort’s shipbuilder, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, to determine the cause of the accident. Although the cause has not been identified, MOL, together with MHI and the classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, has arranged inspection of all six of MOL Comfort’s sister vessels.
The container line also will seek guidance from Lloyd’s Register regarding the safety of the MOL Comfort’s sister vessels. MOL in late June announced its decision to withdraw the six ships — MOL Creation, MOL Charisma, MOL Celebration, MOL Courage, MOL Competence and MOL Commitment — from service as a preventive measure and to upgrade their hulls, with the aim of making them twice as strong as the required safety standard.