Pretoria: 09 March 2018
Hopes of finding four crew members of a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught on fire in Arabian Sea early this week are fading, the shipping company has said in a statement published on its website.
The missing crew members, one a South African, were among 27 others sailing with the cargo vessel from Singapore towards the Suez on Tuesday, when a cargo handling bay caught on fire with the vessel located approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah in Oman.
According to Maersk in statements this week, 23 of the crew members were soon evacuated after the fire went out of control, but that sadly, one of these sailors – since confirmed as a Thai national – succumbed to his injuries and died while two others who received serious injuries were receiving medical care.
The rest of the crew, 19 in total were being transported to India for further medical attention.
Meanwhile, the four other crew members now confirmed as one South African, one Indian and (2) Phillipino were still missing and that hopes of finding them were dim.
The Maersk Line statement reads:
Four crew members remain missing despite comprehensive search efforts as a response to the fire that broke out aboard Maersk Honam on Tuesday, 6 March.
“While search operation continues the hope of finding our missing colleagues is fading. We are in contact with their families and they know that tragically, the time passed decreases the likelihood of finding their loved ones alive. Our thoughts and prayers go to them,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of A.P. Moller – Maersk.
The nationalities of the four missing crew members are: two Filipinos, One South African and one Indian. All male.
23 crew members were evacuated by the vessel ALS Ceres after the fire broke out. One is reported dead due to injuries sustained in connection with the fire. Furthermore, two crew members, one Thai and one Filipino, were in urgent need of medical care as their conditions worsened. They have been evacuated by an Indian navy vessel and handed over to the Indian coast guard of Trivandrum and are now receiving medical treatment. They are accompanied by one of the evacuated Indian colleagues with local language skills.
The remaining 19 crew members onboard ALS Ceres are en route to Cochin, South West India, where medical professionals and crisis psychologists have been arranged for.
“We are doing our outmost to care for and closely follow the conditions of all evacuated colleagues. Also, we have an ongoing contact with their closest relatives”, Søren Toft says.
Maersk Line will continue to provide updates on the situation.
On Thursday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it was aware of and monitoring the situation closely, and that it was in constant contact with Maersk Line officials.