A Thai national died, while an Indian and a Filipino are critical after being rescued from the merchant ship, Maersk Honam, that caught fire in the Arabian Sea, about 800 nautical miles off Mumbai. “One of the 23 rescued crew members died due to inhalation of fumes. The ALS Ceres merchant ship, which rescued the crew, has diverted its route to Kochi, instead of Colombo, with the other survivors on Thursday,” Malini Shankar, director general of shipping, told TOI.
A thick plume of toxic fumes was seen emanating from the ship on Wednesday even as high temperatures melted the containers on board.
An Indian Coast Guard (ICG) official from Mumbai said, “The fire is raging through the forward portion of the 330m-long container ship and is slowly spreading towards the bridge of the ship. Thick plumes of toxic fumes are seen emanating from the ship. The high temperatures have melted the containers on board. Reports suggest that the ship was carrying a cargo of dangerous goods and chemicals.” Firefighting operations will continue on Friday.
MV Maersk Honam had left Singapore on March 1 and was travelling to Suez. It was 340 nautical miles from Agatti in Lakshwadeep Islands when an explosion took place around 8.40pm on Tuesday. Twenty-three of the 27 crew members were rescued by ALS Ceres, which was diverted to the spot by the Mumbai-based Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of the ICG after getting a distress call around 9.45pm. Search is still on for the four missing crew members, including second cook Sakim Hegde, an Indian, and two Filipinos.
Early on Wednesday, after an ICG ship carried out medical evacuation of the rescued crew and dropped off three critically injured crew members—foreman Sukun Suwannapeng from Thailand, Deepu Jayan (36) from Thiruvananthapuram and second officer Allan Gabunilas from the Philippines —with ICG from Vizhinjam station off the shores of Thiruvanathapuram. They were admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital as they were vomiting blood. Suwannapeng died, while Jayan and Gabunilas are critical. The shipping company tweeted @MaerskLine: “It is with regret that we report that one of the evacuated crew of Maersk Honam, a Thai national male colleague, has tragically passed away. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy is with the families of all the crew members at this difficult time.”
Maersk chief operating officer Soren Toft said, “The seriousness of the event has escalated…We are in contact with the family of the deceased and our thoughts and condolences go to them.”
News credit: TimesofIndia