Fire on Maersk Honam brought under control

The fire onboard the ultra-large containership Maersk Honam was brought under control at the weekend according to reports.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was reported as saying the fire on the 15,252 teu Maersk Honam had been brought under control on Saturday some five days after the fatal blaze broke out on the Singapore-flagged vessel.

"A thick plume of toxic fumes have now been replaced by white smoke which is a sign of cooling down of metal fire onboard the mega containership," ICG western region deputy commandant Avinandan Mitra, was quoted as saying.

While the fire is reported to have been brought under control fully extinguishing container fires can be a lengthy process due to the extremely high temperatures generated inside the boxes, with a danger that fire may erupt again.

The ICG has classified the blaze as a “chemical fire”. This raises questions of dangerous cargoes carried on containerships.

There are still no signs of four seafarers missing from the Maersk Honam although the ICG believes the bodies maybe trapped on the vessel. One crew member is confirmed dead, while 22 managed to escape the burning ship, although two are reported to be in a critical condition.

The crew evacuated the Maersk Honam in the Arabian Sea on Tuesday last week after they failed in efforts to bring the fire under control.

The Singapore-flagged Maersk Honam was on enroute from Singapore to Suez with 7860 containers, equalling 12,416 teu, onboard at the time of the fire.

Posted 12 March 2018

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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