Bodies of three missing Maersk crew members found

Johannesburg – The bodies of three of the four crew members, who went missing after a fire broke out on the Maersk Honam vessel in the Arabian Sea last week, have been found.

The Danish company confirmed last week that a South African man was among the four people who went missing, after the remainder of the crew was evacuated.

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"It is with deep sadness that we announce that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members, after the fire aboard Maersk Honam, have been found on board the vessel. At this point in time, our three colleagues are unidentified," Maersk spokesperson Signe Wagner said.

"Given the time passed and the severe fire damage of the vessel, we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire on board Maersk Honam, which began on March 6. All four families of our deceased colleagues have been informed," Wagner said.

Wagner said a thorough search for the fourth crew member would continue.

"However, the active search and rescue mission at sea will be brought to a halt. The search and rescue operation began immediately after Maersk Honam had sent out a distress signal on March 6, due to a serious fire aboard," she said.

Maersk said 22 crew members, who were safely evacuated last week, had received medical treatment and most of them had been released from hospitals.

"Colleagues who initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew," Wagner said.

One crew member died shortly after the evacuation last week due to his injuries.

The company's chief operating officer Søren Toft said: "Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and do our utmost to support them [at] this devastating time."

The company said a full investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of the fire and the impact to the vessel and cargo.