This is a developing story.
Pretoria: 09 March 2018
While efforts continue to find four missing crew members – one a South African – on board a Maersk Line container ship currently on fire since Tuesday off the Arabian Sea near Oman, Singapore transport ministry officials have begun a probe in the incident that’s already claimed one seafarer’s life.
The dead seafarer was confirmed by Maersk Line on Thursday as a Thai national and one of 23 seafarers that were successfully evacuated from the ship, the VM Maersk Honam, after a massive fire had broken out on board a cargo hold and went completely out of control on Tuesday this week.
The 27 seafarers on board the ship at the time of the incident included 13 from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).
According to Maersk Line in a statement on Thursday, rescuers were still busy trying to locate and retrieve the four missing crew members even as hope was increasingly fading that they would find them, and if so, still alive.
One of the missing seafarers is a South African from Johannesburg, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said early on Thursday that it was closely monitoring the situation and was in touch with relevant authorities.
Among such parties to the incident is the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) operating under the Singapore Transport Ministry and under whose flag the Maersk Line container ship is registered since it was built in 2017.
In terms of the TSIB investigation of the incident now already underway, SAMSA is officially acknowledged as a ‘substantially interested party’ in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code)
The code, adopted by IMO Member States in May 2008 as an improvement to a previous code in place since 1997, facilitates for, among other things; ‘co-operation and a common approach to marine casualty and marine incident investigations between States.’
In Singapore early on Friday, the TSIB in communication with senior SAMSA officials, said it had begun investigation into the Maerk Line container ship incident involving a South African seafarer off the coast of Oman this week, and would keep relevant authorities abreast of developments.
This is a developing story……..