Maersk ship blaze leaves four crew missing off Salalah

Maersk ship blaze leaves four crew missing off Salalah

A container ship at sea.

A container ship at sea. (Photo credit: Shutterstock.)

Four crew are missing after a fire on board the 1-year-old 15,262-TEU Maersk Honam southeast of Salalah in the Arabian Sea crippled the container ship, with the situation on the vessel described as “critical” by a Maersk spokesman.

The 2017-built ship was en route from Singapore to the Suez when a fire in one of its cargo holds forced the crew to abandon the ship. Twenty-three crew were picked up by the nearby ALZ Ceres vessel while four seamen are still missing, Maersk Line said in a statement. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing.

“We’ve received the news of Maersk Honam and the four missing crew members with the deepest regret and are now doing our outmost to continue the ongoing search and rescue operations,” said Søren Toft, chief operating officer at Maersk Group. “This by rerouting our own vessels, with assistance of vessels in the area — most notably ALS Ceres that thankfully acted promptly upon our distress call — and the local authorities.”

The container vessels MSC Lauren, Edith Maersk, and Gerd Mærsk, all in the Arabian Sea, have diverted their routes and are expected to arrive in the area early on March 7. Weather conditions in are reported to be fair.

Singapore-flag Maersk Honam is carrying 7,860 containers, and the carrier is trying to contact the affected customers.

“The evacuated crew is obviously distressed, with two crewmembers currently receiving medical first aid onboard the ALS Ceres,” Toft said. “We will offer crisis counselling for the seafarers signing-off and returning to their families, and our thoughts and deepest empathy go out to the families of the crewmembers that are still unaccounted for. We will offer them all the support we can in this very difficult situation.”

The nationalities of the 27 Maersk Honam crew are: India (13), the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

The cause of the fire is unknown, and Maersk Line said it would be investigated in cooperation with the relevant authorities. The ship was built in 2017. 

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