On March 6, the 353 meter long, 162051 dwt container ship Maersk Honam caught fire in the Arabian Sea near the Agatti Islands. The Maersk Honam had departed from Singapore and was enroute to the Suez Canal when fire broke out in the one of the containers in the cargo hold. The 27 crew on board began fire fighting efforts to contain the blaze, but the fire quickly spread to other containers. Flames engulfed the main deck and the fire was out of control. The Maersk Honam sent out a distress call before the crew abandoned ship. Twenty-three crew members were later rescued by the cargo vessel ALS Cicero responding. Several crew members had sustained injuries and required medical attention. Four crew were reported as missing and presumed to be still on the Maersk Honam.
Vessels on scene with the Maersk Honam reported several explosions from the intense fire on the container ship. Flames from the main deck reached 25 meters high nearly reaching the Maersk Honam’s bridge.
Indian Coast Guard has launched search and rescue operations to find the missing crew. Specialized vessels have been dispatched to assist while authorities coordinate salvage efforts with the vessel’s owners.