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Indian Coast Guard Fights Fire on Broken Mitsui O.S.K. Ship

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- An Indian Coast Guard vessel has joined operations to douse a blaze on the broken half of a Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. container ship being towed after the vessel split into two in the Indian Ocean.

The world’s largest merchant fleet operator said the Indian Coast Guard’s Samudra Prahari, equipped with an external fire-fighting system, reached the stricken vessel today, according to a statement on the Tokyo-based company’s website.

The salvage company sought help from the Indian Coast Guard after the tug boat and two rescue boats were unable to douse a fire that broke out on July 6, Mitsui O.S.K. said. About 1,700 containers were lost last month when the back half of the vessel sank amid a storm.

Priyanka Saxena, a spokeswoman for the Indian Coast Guard, didn’t immediately respond to three calls to her mobile phone and an e-mail.

“We will make our best effort to contain the fire though the weather is still not favorable to us,” Mitsui O.S.K. said in the statement.

There were a total of 4,382 boxes on the MOL Comfort, which was built five years ago. The vessel was carrying a crew of 26, who were all rescued.

The containers had consumer goods and other merchandise inside, the company said.

Mitsui O.S.K. fell 2.2 percent to 401 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 1.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Cooper in Tokyo at ccooper1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net

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