An evacuated crew member from the 2017-built container ship Maersk Honam has died from injuries sustained during the major fire that broke out aboard the vessel while underway in the Arabian Sea on Tuesday, Maersk Line has confirmed.
The deceased crew member was one of twenty-three who evacuated from the burning ship. The male victim, a Thai national, is the first confirmed fatality in the incident.
Maersk Line said in a statement that victim’s health condition drastically deteriorated Wednesday afternoon (CET) due to the injuries sustained in connection with the fire.
Four additional crew members remain missing.
The remaining 22 crew members who were evacuated are currently enroute to Sri Lanka on board the containership ALS Cere.
“We are deeply saddened with the passing of one of our colleagues who in the first place had been evacuated. The seriousness of the event has escalated and everyone in Maersk is moved by this. We are in contact with the family of the deceased and our thoughts and condolences go to them,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer and member of the Executive Board of A.P. Moller – Maersk.
Maersk Honam Fire – Background and Update
The MV Maersk Honam, an ultra-large container ship (ULCS), was enroute from Singapore towards Suez when it reported a serious fire in a cargo hold on March 6 at 15:20 GMT while approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman.
After sending out a distress signal, a total of 23 crew members evacuated to the nearby containership, the ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT, according to Maersk.
The fire onboard the Maersk Honam continued Wednesday. The situation of the vessel is reported as “very critical”, Maersk Line said in an update.
The ship is carrying a total of 7,860 containers, corresponding to 12,416 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent).
According to a report from the Indian Coast Guard, the ship reported an explosion and fire with flames from the main deck to the ship’s bridge – a height of about 25 meters. At one point on Tuesday, the flames were so large that they could be seen from space, as captured by a NOAA satellite some 530 miles above Earth.
Several containerships have diverted their route to assist in the search and rescue operation, which continues with help from the Indian Coast Guard. Currently, five merchant vessels are involved including the MV Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, which is coordinating the efforts, according to Maersk.
Others vessels involved have included the ALS Ceres, Seaspan Zambezi, Navigator Centauri and Al Jasrah, the Indian Coast Guard reported earlier on Wednesday.
The cause of the fire and extent of damage to the vessel and cargo is currently unknown.
The 353-meter MV Maersk Honam was built in 2017 at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. It has a nominal capacity of 15,262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), and sails under the Singapore flag.
Full Coverage: Maersk Honam Fire
Did you know? In 2013, the containership MOL Comfort broke in two and sank in the Indian Ocean with the equivalent of 7,041 TEUs, making for a total loss. The incident is the single worst container shipping loss in history. Read more: MOL Comfort