DNV GL blames design flaw for MOL Comfort sinking

A public comment by DNV GL vice president Knut Dohlie at the International Union of Marine Insurers (IUMI) 2014 Conference is set to ignite more controversy as it postulates that a "non-robust" design caused the break-up and sinking of the MOL Comfort, although the class society's findings are based on its own models made with only publicly available data and some assumptions.

Dohlie told the conference that based on DNV GL's calculations and the vessel's available design schematics the girders and scantlings were not strong enough. According to him, longitudinal girders on the 8,110-teu ship which broke part in the Indian Ocean last June were not aligned to the container grid as it usually is, thus not being as strong. Furthermore with the grade of steel used for the scantlings, these should have been as much as 3mm thicker.

Based on DNV GL's calculations, uneven weight distribution caused torsion amidships which in turn caused the hull girders to be overstressed, exacerbated by rough weather, causing their failure and subsequent break-up of the ship.

Dohlie further criticised ClassNK and the Japanese authorities for not sharing information and involving other parties during the investigation process. He compared this to the MSC Napoli investigation, which the then DNV was involved in, where information was openly shared and remedial action was able to be taken on the fly.

Posted 26 September 2014

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade (UBM (UK) Ltd). Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade.

Vincent Wee

Asia Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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