Maersk has announced “with deep sadness” that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members have been found on board Maersk Honam after it caught fire last week.
The Danish shipping company added in a statement “Given the time passed and the severe fire damage on the vessel we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire on board Maersk Honam which began on 6 March.” The three colleagues have not yet been identified.
“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and will do our outmost to support them in this devastating time,” said Maersk chief operating officer, Søren Toft.
The statement said that 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 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.
On land, the medical conditions of the evacuated crew members are “progressing positively”, Maersk said. 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.
The India Marine Police is conducting a routine investigation of the incident and will be interviewing all crew members.
The fire-fighting efforts on board Maersk Honam are progressing. Specialised firefighting vessels remain engaged, with salvage operations led by Smit Salvage and Ardent. Maersk Line said that it was co-operating with the salvors and has two marine engineers onsite, working closely with Smit and Ardent.
A full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire and the impact to the vessel and cargo.