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Friday, 27 December 2013
Interim Report on MOL COMFORT Casualty Released
Following the loss of the container vessel MOL COMFORT on 17 June 2013, ClassNK established a special Casualty Investigation Team in order to investigate and determine the cause of the casualty.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) further established a Committee on Large Container Ship Safety to develop measures to ensure the safety of large container vessels on 29 August 2013. ClassNK serves as a member of the Committee and the ClassNK Casualty Investigation Team is actively involved in its deliberative and investigative work.
The Committee on Large Container Ship Safety completed its Interim Report on the MOL Comfort casualty during its fourth meeting on 12 December 2013, and released the report to the public on 17 December 2013. English excerpts of the report are available on MLIT’s website.
In line with Interim Report, the ClassNK Casualty Investigation Team will continue to carry out numerical simulations of hull strength and acting loads, as well as conduct full-scale stress measurements of actual ships in order to develop comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of large container vessels, including potential amendments to existing classification rules related to hull structures.
The Casualty Investigation Team will also work closely with the International Association of Classification Societies’ (IACS) newly established large container ship safety project team to ensure that findings from the casualty investigation are reflected in IACS regulatory work.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced its response to the interim report of the Committee on Large Container Ship Safety related to the incident on June 17, 2013, involving the MOL-operated MOL Comfort, which hull broke in half.
The committee was established by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) made up of maritime industry representatives and experts. The report was issued on December 17.
While the cause of the incident remains undetermined, the committee recommended that the following actions be taken as temporary safety measures for existing containerships with loading capacities similar to or greater than 8,000 TEU class:
A safety inspection on the bottom shell plates to the extent possible should be conducted in order to verify the presence of buckling deformations. If such deformations are found during this inspection, consult a classification society regarding the proper measures to be taken.
In accordance with the deliberations at the IMO related to the enforcement of container weight verification prior to loading, verification of the actual weight of container cargoes provided by the shipper is recommended in order to reduce uncertainty related to the still water bending moments of large containerships.
MOL has done everything possible to ensure safe operation. Since the incident occurred, MOL has taken the following measures, including safety measures, which were recommended in the interim report mentioned above.
MOL conducted emergency safety inspections targeting all six of the MOL Comfort’s sister vessels, and then arranged docking for work to reinforce their hull structures as additional safety measures. With this step, the target vessels secured about twice the hull strength of the standard set by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) which conforms to International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) standards.
MOL continues to pay special attention to the operation of this type of six sister vessels to reduce the stress on hulls by adjusting ballast water volume.
MOL also conducted safety inspections on the outer bottom shell plates of its operated large containerships in addition to the above six vessels, and already confirmed there is no safety problem.