The Japanese classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK) is proposing safety measures
following its own investigation of the MOL Comfort
casualty this summer and the deliberations of a "Committee on Large Container Ship Safety" that was established by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
The 7,041-TEU MOL Comfort
cracked in half on June 17 during a storm on the Arabian Sea. While efforts were made to tow the two halves of the ship to port, both halves eventually sank
Class NK said, "Based on the presence water ingress in the bottom of the vessel's midship at the outset of the casualty, the fracture in the vessel's hull is considered to have originated from the bottom part of the vessel."
It said during the inspection of sister ships of the MOL Comfort
, "buckling type deformations measuring approximately 20 mm in height were observed on the bottom shell plates in the vicinity of center line of midship area. However, it remains unclear at this stage as to whether this type of deformation could have served as a trigger for the casualty. Reinforcement work to increase the hull strength of the sister vessels is already being carried out as a preventive safety measure."
Class NK continued, "With cooperation from shipowners, structural investigations are also being carried out to determine whether similar deformations have occurred in large container vessels with designs differing from those of the MOL Comfort. "
It said the study is continuing to develop a more detailed understanding of the casualty.