Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giant Supertanker Suffers Mystery Explosion

'External Attack' on MOL Vessel off Omani Coast
Shipping News Feature

UAE - OMAN – Reports just in that the 160,000 tonne MV M.Star, a Very Large Crude carrier (VLCC) tanker belonging to Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL)suffered an explosion at 00.30 hours local time whilst West of the Strait of Hormuz in Omani territorial waters. The ship, which suffered hull damage, was reportedly subjected to ‘an attack seemingly from external sources’ according to the owners.

M. STAR took on crude oil Tuesday, July 27, at the UAE Port of Das Island, after which it departed for Chiba Port in Japan. The degree and details of hull damage are currently under investigation but no serious injury was reported, although one of the crew was slightly injured, and no oil leaked from the hull. Her precise position at the time of the incident was reportedly at 26º27’ N 56º14’ E.

Despite reports from UAE sources that the damage was caused by an excessively large wave caused by recent seismic activity in the region, MOL are adamant that the ship suffered an assault. A crew member claims he saw a flash on the horizon followed immediately by an explosion.

The ship, built in 2008 and flagged in the Marshall Islands is continuing with her voyage and is currently en route to the UAE port of Fujairah, where the damage and its causes will be thoroughly investigated. She stands 333 metres long and is capable of carrying in excess of 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil meaning she is one of the largest vessels of her type in existence.

Owner MOL is one of the world’s largest multi-modal transport companies, operating 861 vessels and employing a workforce in excess of 9,200 worldwide. MOL operates one of the largest and most diverse networks of container ships, bulk carriers and oil tankers in all areas of the globe.