Fire continues to rage on Maersk Honam

Four crew remain missing in the Arabian Sea following Tuesday’s fire on the 15,000 teu Maersk Honam boxship. While search and rescue operations continue, chances of finding the missing four men alive are now deemed unlikely. A Thai crewmember died from burns on Wednesday, while the remaining 22 crew have been sent to Cochin in India. Some of the evacuated crew are suffering from toxic fumes from the fire.

The fire on the ship continues to rage, with an Indian Coast Guard vessel alongside trying to douse the inferno.

“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,” Søren Toft, Maersk’s chief operating officer said yesterday.

The nationalities of the four missing crewmembers are: two Filipinos, one South African and one Indian. All male.

The vessel is carrying a total of 7,860 containers, corresponding to 12,416 teu.

The Indian Coast Guard has reported that many of the boxes on fire contained flammable liquids and solids.

The fire has stretched to an area of around 100 m by 60 m of the ship, the coast guard said, while adding there was no sign of an oil spill.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The missing crew are reported today as dead, That brings the total to five seafarer fatalities. Many of the catastrophic fire incident that occur on board container ships have started inside misdeclared contents containers. Sodium Hypochlorite or Bleaching Powder is a high profile problem. Shippers simply lie to avoid the additional freight charges associate with IMDG cargo. Seafarers die and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cargo and ships are destroyed. The shipper then walks away with impunity, hiding behind the shield of his limited liability company with $2.00 in paid up shares and no tangible assets. No criminal prosecution is brought because no one can be bothered and it happens again and again. Am I correct or is there another side to this story?

    1. Dear Sir
      You are absolutely correct. I have made my awkward but true, honest and evidence supported inputs in TWO very lenghty comments on a web site , which as I understand is not very popular amongst Splash 247 wise and knowledgable dwellers. If interested and not too busy please read. I will be honored. Go to latest update on maersk honan.

  2. Maersk have been at the forefront of industry efforts to try to deal with the problem of mis-declared D.G.

    The solution that I have been urging on anyone and everyone is to stop charging higher freight and THC on DG. The incentive for shippers to lie disappears as soon as this is done.

    Yes, the shippers of harmless cargo will be subsiding the shippers of Dangerous Goods. But their own cargo will be more likely to arrive…

  3. Thanks Andrew. As usual you are right on track. It’s the price differentiation that generates the lies. Take it away and promise extra special care and handling of DG cargo and the motive to cheat disappears. However, both the carriers and the terminals would have to be on board with this this idea and it would have to be accepted globally. And would cargo insurers and P&I Clubs support such a freight price equality concept as a highly effective risk management tool? I would think that insurers and re-insurers would be nuts not to do so.

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