Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Four missing after `serious fire´ on cargo ship in…

Four missing after `serious fire´ on cargo ship in…

"The merchant vessel reported that Maersk Honam was on fire with flames from the main deck of the ship rising up to the ship's bridge [height of about 25 metres]", the Coast Guard said.

Mumbai: A seafarer from Karnataka and three foreign nationals are feared dead after all 27 crew members of a merchant ship, Maersk Honam, jumped into the Arabian Sea, about 800 nautical miles off Mumbai, following a major fire on Tuesday night. Currently, four ship's crew members are missing while others have been rescued.

"Firefighting operations on container vessels are limited to allowing the containers to burn out in a controlled manner in such a way that the fire can not spread further", said IUMI.

"The vessel reported an explosion and fire onboard and requested immediate assistance while being located 570 km (340 nautical miles) from Agatti in Lakshwadeep Islands", said Avinandan Mitra, PRO Coast Guards. Maersk Line has informed the relatives of all crew members.

Maersk Honam was built in 2017, has a nominal capacity of 15262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), and sails under Singapore flag.

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After firefighting efforts were unsuccessful, the crew sent out a distress signal and a total of 23 crew members were evacuated to the nearby vessel ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT.

Maersk Line is in the process of informing the relatives of all crew members and acknowledge this is a very hard time for them. Four crewmen, including an Indian, are reported missing. "The evacuated crew members are obviously distressed, with two crew members now receiving medical first aid on board the ALS Ceres".

The vessel is carrying 7,860 containers.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the vessel was carrying unsafe cargo, although the cause of fire, which broke out in a cargo hold, is still unknown and the fire continues to rage. "We are in contact with the family of the deceased and our thoughts and condolences go to them", said Søren Toft, chief operating officer at Maersk. The 27 crew members include 13 from India, 9 from Phillipines, 2 from Thailand and 1 each from Romania, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Maersk Line will investigate the matter thoroughly in cooperation with all relevant authorities.

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