South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) saddened by death of SA seafarer in Arabian sea

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Pretoria: 13 March 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has expressed sadness at the confirmed death of a South African seafarer, Mr Stephen John Bouch of Johannesburg on board a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught ablaze in the Arabian Sea near Oman a week ago.

S. Bouch
South African marine engineer, Mr Stephen Bouch of Johannesburg, one of a number of seafarers that’s been confirmed as casualties of a fire that broke out on board a Maersk Line shipping company cargo vessel on the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018

Mr Bouch, 53, a veteran seafarer was believed to be among four missing crew members of the Maersk Honam cargo vessel that caught alight on Tuesday last week while en route from Singapore to the Suez in Egypt.

At the time of the incident, the vessel had 27 crew on board of which 23 were evacuated. One crew member, a Thai national, had passed away due to injuries sustained while four others remained missing until on Monday after three of the bodies were found, Maersk Line reported.

According to the shipping company’s statement, the three bodies found had not yet been identified and the search for the fourth person, now presumed dead, was continuing.

It was not clear on Tuesday whether the South African seafarer, Mr Bouch was among those whose bodies had been found, since no identity had been established of any of the bodies.

In Pretoria on Tuesday, SAMSA which had been in touch with all relevant authorities as well as the affected family since reports of the incident last week, expressed sadness at the turn of events involving the death of Mr Bouch and the other sailors.

In a statement SAMSA said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority joins the South African maritime fraternity in mourning the loss of seafarers on board the Maersk Honam.

S.Bouch_1“South Africa has lost Mr Stephen John Bouch, of Johannesburg. Our condolences goes to his family, colleagues and fellow seafarers.”

According to SAMSA, Mr Bouch was a qualified and experienced Marine Engineer with seafarer certificates inclusive of a Certificate of Competency as an Officer in Charge of Engineering Watch or Designated Duty Engineer for which he Qualified 24 June 1991.

He had been an employee of Safmarine, later becoming part of Maersk, for the most part of his life.

SAMSA said during his time with Safmarine (Maersk), he worked and mentored many other young South African officers.

Mr Bouch is survived by his wife and a son.

End.

South African seafarer among casualties of a container ship stricken off the Arabian Sea; Maersk Line confirms.

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Pretoria: 13 March 2018

A South African seafarer has been confirmed dead along with three other crew members of a Maersk Line ship container that caught on fire in the Arabian Sea a week ago.

S. Bouch
South African marine engineer, Mr Stephen Bouch of Johannesburg, one of a number of seafarers that’s been confirmed as casualties of a fire that broke out on board a Maersk Line shipping company cargo vessel on the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the name of the South African seafarer is Mr Stephen Bouch, a marine engineer from Johannesburg.

On Monday, Maersk Line, owners and operators of the container ship named Maersk Honam that caught on fire at sea some 900 km south of Oman while sailing from Singapore to the Suez last Tuesday, confirmed that three bodies of the four crew members who had been lost inside the vessel during an evacuation, were found in the vessel.

A fourth crew member of the container ship had not yet been found, but was also presumed dead, said Maersk Line Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft.

It was not clear if Mr Bouch was among the three bodies found or might be the one whose body is still missing.

“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,” said Mr Toft

He said: “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.

“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,” said Mr Toft in the statement.

maersk honam 5A thorough search on board the Maersk Honam would continue, said Mr Toft adding that active search and rescue mission at sea would however be terminated.

A week ago, the company had confirmed that among the four crew members missing was a South African seafarer. The four were among a crew of 27 manning the vessel during its voyage when the massive blaze broke out of a cargo hold.

The 27 crew members were mostly from India (13), the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

Twenty three of the seafarers were successfully evacuated a while after the ship caught fire after it had become clear they could not contain the blaze themselves and called for assistance.

One of the 23 evacuated sailors, a Thai national, was reported eventually to have succumbed to his injuries last week while the rest of the crew was transferred to hospitals in India for treatment.

maersk honam 1SAMSA which on behalf of South Africa, has declared itself a “substantially interested party” in the matter, said it would maintain contact with all relevant authorities while investigation of the incident continue.

These include the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) of the Singapore Transport Ministry which confirmed the launch of an investigation a week ago. The Maersk Line vessel built a year ago with a nominal capacity of 15 262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), is registered in Singapore.

Now also confirmed to be involved in the investigation is the India Marine Police, said Maersk Line on Monday.

The shipping company said in terms of the rest of the surviving crew of the Maersk Honam , all were recovering well and some had already been released from hospital.

“On land, 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. Colleagues who initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew.

“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,” said Mr Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer for Maersk Line.

End

Hopes of finding seafarers, one South African, in burning cargo vessel fading: Maersk

 

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(Photo: Courtesy of maritimebulletin.net)

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.

End