Wine missing as container ship founders

The MOL Comfort broke in two off the coast of Mumbai in high seas in June.
The MOL Comfort broke in two off the coast of Mumbai in high seas in June.

Thursday, June 27 

MOL has reported that a section of ship MOL Comfort sank in open sea on Thursday morning in 4,000 meters of water off the coast of India.

About 1,700 containers were lost with the section, although some were seen floating near the site.

There were approximately 1,500 tonnes of heavy fuel oil in the tanks of the aft section but MOL said that there was no large spillage of oil visible.

The ship's bow section is under tow towards a refuge port and is said to be "stable". 

Click through to see photographs of the sinking

Wednesday, June 26

Two containers of Saint Clair Family Estate wine are lost somewhere off the coast of India after the ship they were on foundered and broke in two.

Saint Clair managing director Neal Ibbotson said the Marlborough wine company was waiting for confirmation about what had happened to the ship and its wine.

The ship had two containers of Saint Clair wine on board, mostly sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, which was destined for Sweden, Mr Ibbotson said.

"At the moment, it is a little bit unknown in that we understand part of the ship is still floating and has containers on it.

"We understand the other part of the ship is supposedly lost, but we don't know where. We're waiting for confirmation."

The wine was sold FOB, or "free on board", which meant it was the responsibility of the buyer once it was loaded onto the ship, he said.

"That's a plus for us."

If the wine was lost, Mr Ibbotson said, Saint Clair would need to send another two containers, but he hoped the wine would be recoverable.

"One of the problems if it is lost is that while we can replace the wine, it delays the availability in Sweden and that can cause it to be out of stock on the shelves, something we always try to avoid. But in cases like this, it is outside anybody's control."

This was the second time a Marlborough wine company has lost wine on a ship.

Astrolabe Wines had three containers of 4000 cases of 2010 sauvignon blanc destined for a customer in Europe on the cargo ship Rena when it grounded on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga in October 2011.

Managing director Jason Yank said at the time that Astrolabe Wines had been "fully paid" by its insurance company for the $400,000 worth of wine.

The wine was technically owned by the European importer as soon as it was put on the ship.

However, Astrolabe Wines was not paid because the consignment never arrived.

Mr Yank said the company managed to send another consignment of 3000 cases of sauvignon blanc to Europe about four days after the ship ran aground.

The Marlborough Express