The bodies of 3 out of the 4 missing crew members from Maersk Honam have been found onboard and the search for the 4th has been called off. ARX Maritime reported that a chemical fire broke out on the vessel on the 6th March, leaving one dead and 4 missing.
The rest of the ship’s crew were safely evacuated, but a search and rescue operation was launched for the remaining 4 members that were unaccounted for. The names of the victims have not been released.
Maersk Line have issued a statement to say:
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members after the fire aboard Maersk Honam have been found on board the vessel. At this point in time our three colleagues are unidentified.
Given the time passed and the severe fire damages of the vessel we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire onboard Maersk Honam which began on 6 March. All four families of our deceased colleagues have been informed.
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 Maersk Honam had sent out a distress signal on 6 March due to a serious fire aboard. Several container vessels diverted their route to assist in the search and rescue operation.”
Maersk Line 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”.
All 22 remaining crew members have been provided with medical treatment on land. The majority have been released, although two remain in a critical condition then have been moved from intensive care into the general ward.
A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew.
Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer for Maersk Line said: “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 is conducting a routine investigation of the incident, and they will be interviewing all crew members.
Putting Out the Fire
Attempts to put out the fire onboard the vessel continue. Specialised firefighting vessels are at the scene. The operation is being led by Smit Salvage and Ardent.
Maersk Line have confirmed a full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire and the impact to the vessel and cargo.