Last month, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ 2008-built MOL Comfort broke in two while transporting a load of 4,382 containers/7,041 TEUs from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The crew of 26 (11 Russians, one Ukrainian and 14 Filipinos) were able to abandon the ship and were rescued by lifeboats from a diverted ship (the Yantian Express).
The two sections of the boat remained intact after the split and the container salvaging mission began. In the days following the split, the bow section broke out in a horrible fire in inclement weather and the majority of the 2,400 containers on that portion of the ship were destroyed. The exact cause of the accident is not known, but MOL has appointed an outside authority to determine what in fact went wrong.
After finding out that the crew is in safety, our thoughts immediately went to the cargo, “do these shippers have cargo insurance?” In cases where a cargo vessel sinks, you could be liable for the cost of the entire vessel and the lost/damaged cargo under the general average absorption clause.
That means, unless you have cargo insurance of course, that if the ship sinks you are not solely liable for your own cargo that may or may not have been lost/damaged, but the entire ship and the lost/damaged cargo.
Here is a collection of some of the most shocking images from the MOL Comfort split.