Mol Comfort

11 Jul 2013

The total loss of MOL Comfort and its cargo is a new kind of disaster. Thousands of containers are awash, some are in the seawater column or at the bottom. They all contain materials that are entirely incompatible with the ecosystem of the Arabian Sea. Both wrecks of the MOL Comfort are now underwater disposals of hazardous waste, common waste and oil wastes.

The exact inventory of hazardous materials has not been disclosed by the owner. The ship had previously reached four Japanese ports. At the middle of its round trip, the container ship was supposed to reach Northern Europe. Japan is an exporter of chemicals and electronic equipment; the giant container ship was transporting all classes of hazardous materials, the only unknown being radioactive material. The fallout from the fire in the front part will contaminate the marine food chains. Containers adrift endangered navigation and when they will be gradually dislocated they will release hundreds of thousands of litters more or less floating in the sea.

All sister ships of the MOL Comfort constructed by Mitsubishi in Nagasaki are temporarily out of commission and will be subject to scrutiny in dry dock. All of these vessels were assigned to the Japan-Europe Northern line. MOL Courage was supposed to reach the port of Le Havre on July 20; it is now preparing to go to inspection sites in Singapore.

The total loss of MOL Comfort is estimated to be a minimum of 400 million USD, much to the dismay of the insurers. This is not one more accident, it is the anomaly too many. MOL Comfort was new. Its wreck reinforces the concern of all experts dealing with the race for gigantism of container ships.

6_MOL Comfort_2013-07-10-robindesbois-2013July 10, 2013, the front of MOL Comfort before the shipwreck—photo GCaptain

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