Friday, February 7, 2014

Multi-Million Dollar Legal Claim as Container Shipping Lines Sues over Lost Vessel

Worries Over New Materials Used in Construction
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – Container shipping line Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has initiated legal proceedings against Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI), seeking compensation for having to strength the hulls of six container carriers following the demise of ill-fated MOL Comfort, which broke in half in rough seas and subsequently sank in June of last year as reported here. The suit also covers the ship itself, which was worth approximately $45 million.

The MOL Comfort and her sister ships; MOL Celebration, MOL Courage, MOL Creation, MOL Charisma, MOL Competence, and MOL Commitment, were all built by MHI in 2008, using a new high grade steel enabling them to be constructed with a thinner hull structure. The hulls of the six vessels have subsequently been reinforced to twice the standard required by classification society ClassNK.

The case will be watched carefully by many in the shipbuilding and liner communities as newer ‘high grade’ steels have been the material of choice in various vessel types in the past few years with the individual formulae retained by several steel producers. With the long life expected of many ships, tragedies such as the MV Swanland which saw six crewmen die when she broke in half, will be a worry for the future as the latest materials are tested by the ravages of time as opposed to a laboratory environment.

Photo: Death of a ship, the Comfort breathes her last.