Mol Comfort broke into two off the Yemeni coast in mid-June

Despite efforts by the Coast Guard’s specialised vessel Samudra Prahari, the fire on board the cargo-carrying container ship Mol Comfort, which had broken into two in rough seas off the Yemeni coast in mid-June, continued to spread for the third day, throwing to the winds chances of towing it to safety.

Coast Guard sources told The Hindu that heavy winds gusting at speeds of 60 km per hour and ocean swell were adversely affecting the fire-fighting operations. “The winds are in fact fanning the fire, which has now become a major one. Worse, there is a five-metre swell in that area,” said a Coast Guard officer.

The ship broke into two on June 17.

Search and rescue

While a search and rescue effort coordinated by the Coast Guard’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) resulted in saving all the 26 crew members, its aft carrying some 1,700 containers sank in the following days.

Four tugs

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, which owns the vessel, had arranged four tugs to salvage the wreck when the aft went down some 420 nautical miles off Mumbai.

The tugs soon began to tow the forward portion, almost 150 metres in length and laden with the over 3,000 containers, to Port Sohar in Oman.

Out-of-control

A fire was reported aboard the split part of the vessel under tow on July 6. MOL’s website reported that the fire continued to be out of control.

The derelict ship was some 365 nautical miles west of Mumbai on Monday evening.


  • Coast Guard ship Samudra Prahari trying to fight blaze

  • Mol Comfort is 365 nautical miles west of Mumbai