13 March 2018

Sad Tale of Maersk Line Container Ship Fire Continues  

Three Bodies Found Aboard 15,000 TEU Vessel

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Shipping News Feature DENMARK – INDIA – Following last week's news of the fire onboard the 15,262 TEU Maersk Honam, shipping giant Maersk has regrettably announced that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members have been found on board the vessel. At this point in time the three colleagues are unidentified. The nationalities of the four crew members, all male, are: two Filipinos, one South African, and one Indian.

Given the time passed and the severe fire damage to the vessel the company has concluded that by now that all four seafarers who have been missing since the fire onboard Maersk Honam, which began on March, have been lost. All four families of the deceased have been informed. Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft, said:

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and do our outmost to support them in this devastating time.”

A thorough search on board the Maersk Honam continues, however, the active search and rescue mission at sea will be brought to a halt. The search and rescue operation began immediately after the vessel had sent out a distress signal on March 6 due to the serious fire aboard. Several container vessels diverted their route to assist in the search and rescue operation.

On land, Maersk reports that the medical conditions of the evacuated crew members are progressing positively. All 22 have received medical treatment and the majority have been released from hospitals. Those that had initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are reportedly recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew. Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer for Maersk Line, commented:

“Our colleagues that were evacuated to local hospitals in varying conditions of health are improving and we are now preparing to bring them back to their families as their condition allows.”

The India Marine Police Force is conducting a routine investigation of the incident, and they will be interviewing all crew members. The fire-fighting efforts on board Maersk Honam are progressing and specialised firefighting vessels remain engaged, with salvage operations led by Smit Salvage and Ardent. Maersk Line is cooperating with the salvors and has two Marine Engineers onsite, working closely with Smit and Ardent. A full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire and the impact to the vessel and cargo.

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