Fire-Ravaged Maersk Honam Nearing Anchorage Outside Jebel Ali Port
Maersk Honam fire in the Arabian Sea.
April 23, 2018 by Mike Schuler
The fire-ravaged ultra-large containership Maersk Honam is expected to arrive at an anchorage outside the Jebel Ali Port in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, exactly seven weeks after a major fire tore through the ship’s forward cargo holds, Maersk Line confirmed Monday.
The 353-meter Maersk Honam caught fire on March 6 in the Arabian Sea around 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman while en route to the Mediterranean Sea, via the Suez Canal.
After initial firefighting by the Indian Coast Guard, the vessel was taken under tow as the fire onboard continued to smolder.
Jebel Ali was eventually selected as the most suitable port to accommodate the vessel.
Meanwhile, hotspots continue to burn on board the vessel.
“During anchorage hot spots in affected areas will be completely extinguished and further work to stabilise the vessel and bring it alongside will be carried out,” Maersk said in a statement. “Maersk Line expects this work to take 4-5 weeks, whereafter Maersk Honam will be moved alongside for discharge operations to commence.”
Salvage operations are led by Smit Salvage and Ardent.
Maersk Honam’s current position as of April 23, 2018. The vessel is accompanied by the tugs Maersk Involver, Posh Perseverance and Amazon Chieftan Z. Image credit: MarineTraffic.com
At the time of the fire, the Maersk Honam was carrying a total of 7,860 containers, corresponding to 12,416 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent). The fire tore through the entire cargo area forward of the ship’s superstructure.
Of the 27 crew members on board at the time of the fire, 23 abandoned ship and were picked up by a commercial vessel in the area. One of the 23 crew members who evacuated later died from injuries.
“22 crew members who were safely evacuated from the vessel have travelled home and are reunited with their families. Maersk Line continues to maintain regular contact and offer support to them,” Maersk Line said Monday.
The remains of three of the four missing crew members were later found on board the vessel.
“The remains of three of the four missing crew members who were found onboard the vessel remain unidentified,” Maersk said. “After the remains were discovered they were immediately transferred to Mumbai, India, where local authorities are working on identification. Maersk Line is closely collaborating with the concerned authorities who oversee the identification process, ensuring this progresses as efficiently as possible. Frequent contact with the relatives of the lost crew members is maintained, with an offer of continued support in this challenging time for them.”
Maersk Line says a full investigation will be conducted in collaboration with relevant authorities to determine the cause of the fire. “A further assessment of the impact to the vessel and cargo will take place when the vessel has arrived alongside in the port,” the company said.
Delivered in 2017, the Maersk Honam has a nominal capacity of 15,262 TEU. She sails under the Singapore flag.