On the 17th of June 2013, the container vessel 'MOL Comfort', 8,110 TEU, suffered a crack amidships during bad weather. The vessel was underway from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia when the incident happened about 200Nm off the coast of Yemen (mid Indian Ocean/Arabic Sea). After the structural failure, the ship broke in two. Both sections remained afloat with the majority of the cargo intact and began drifting in an East North Easterly direction.
SMIT Salvage was contracted under LOF to tow the two sections into safer water. To be able to deal with a project this size, SMIT mobilized a team from both Singapore and The Netherlands. A tug was mobilized from Dubai with the salvage team flown in from Rotterdam to tow the aft section into safer water. A second tug from Mumbai with the SMIT team onboard was mobilized to tow the bow section into safer water.
On the 24th of June, the first tug with the salvage team on board arrived at the location of the vessel and under extremely challenging conditions connected the tow line to the bow section and began towing this section to a safer location. Unfortunately, on the 26th of June and before the second tug was able to connect to the stern, this section badly listed and was trimmed due to the ingress of water. As a result, on the following day it sank to the bottom of the Indian Ocean to a depth of approx. 4,000 m.
The bow section in the meantime was towed to a port of refuge. However, on the 6th of July a fire broke out in the rear part of the bow section. Due to adverse weather conditions it was impossible to get the blaze under control resulting in most of the containers being destroyed by fire. The fire was so fierce it also damaged the integrity of the bow section, resulting in the ingress of water. On the following night the damaged bow section sadly also sank to a depth of approx. 3,000 m.