A container ship with 27 crew members, including 13 Indians, on board caught fire in the Arabian Sea near Agatti Island in Lakshadweep on Tuesday night, the Indian Coast Guard said. Four of the crew members are still missing.
The ship, which is owned by the Danish business conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk, had left Singapore on March 1 and was travelling to Suez. The Coast Guard’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Mumbai received a distress call from the ship, Maersk Honam, at 9.45 pm, The Indian Express reported.
The MRCC immediately alerted all the merchant ships near the location. The Indian Coast Guard ship Shoor, which was on patrol duty near the Lakshadweep Islands, was also diverted for assisting the distressed vessel. Around 11.25 pm, the merchant ship MV Als Cicero and three other merchant vessels reached the ship.
“The merchant vessel reported that Maersk Honam was on fire with flames from the main deck of the ship rising up to the ship’s bridge [height of about 25 metres],” the Coast Guard said. The crew has abandoned the ship as fire spread beyond control. Mearsk Honam had 27 crew on board, out of which 23 has been rescued by Als Cicero. Remaining four are missing.”
“We have received the news of Maersk Honam and the four missing crew members with the deepest regret and are now doing our utmost to continue the ongoing search and rescue operations,” said Soren Toft, the chief operating officer of AP Moller-Maersk. The company said that its container vessels MSC Lauren, Edith Maersk and Gerd Maersk were on their way to the Arabian Sea to assist with the search and rescue operations.