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Maersk Line’s container ship catches fire off Agatti Islands, 4 missing

The 27 crew members of the ship included 13 from India. At the time of the distress call, the ship was at a distance of 340 nautical miles from Agatti Isles in Lakshwadeep Islands.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2018 14:45 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maersk Line,container fire,Arabian sea
An explosion followed by a massive fire ripped through container ship Maersk Honam off the Agatti Isles in Lakshwadeep Islands.(Photo/Indian Coast Guard)

An explosion followed by a massive fire ripped through container ship Maersk Honam with several Indian crew on board, off the Agatti Islands, an Indian Coast Guard official said on Wednesday.

Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipper, said four crew members were missing after one of its container vessels caught fire in the Arabian sea, while 23 crew members were safely evacuated.

A merchant vessel, MV Als Cicero, one of the four merchant vessels in the area which was directed by the Indian Coast Guard, rescued 23 crew members of the Singapore-flagged container ship.

The ICG’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Mumbai, received a distress call from Maersk Honam.

The ship had left Singapore on March 1 and was on way to Suez in Egypt with a crew of 27, including 13 Indians and the rest of different nationalities.

The captain is an Indian and the remaining crew is Filipino, British, Romanian and Thai.

At the time of the distress call, the ship was at a distance of 340 nautical miles from Agatti Isles in Lakshwadeep Islands.

The MRCC alerted all merchant ships near the location, through the satellite based communication network, the International Safety Net (ISN).

MV Als Cicero, which reached Maersk Honam at about 11.25 pm, reported that the container vessel was blazing with flames from the main deck of the ship leaping up to the ship’s bridge height of about 25 metres.

The crew had abandoned the ship as fire spread beyond their control.

Inspector General K.R. Nautiyal, the Coast Guard Commander (West) said: “Search Operations are on and ICG assets have been pressed into action.”

“It is our priority to save and rescue the four missing crew and also continue our efforts to salvage the vessel with assistance of specialised vessels which is being arranged in co-ordination with the Ship agency.”

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 10:08 IST