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ACCIDENT

Crew members missing after Maersk ship catches fire in Arabian Sea

A serious fire on board a container vessel belonging to Danish shipping giant Maersk has left several crew members unaccounted for, the company confirmed in a press statement.

Crew members missing after Maersk ship catches fire in Arabian Sea
A file photo of a different Maersk ship. Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix Denmark

23 crew members were evacuated after the ship caught fire in the Arabian Sea, but four are still missing.

The ship, the Maersk Honam, was still on fire on Wednesday morning with the situation regarded as critical.

“We have received news of the Maersk Honam and four missing crew members with deep regret, and will do all we can in the ongoing rescue operation,” said Søren Toft, director of operations with Maersk Line.

The ship is reported to have been en route from Singapore to Suez in Egypt and is currently 900 nautical miles southeast of the Omani coastal city of Salalah.

Initial attempts by the crew to put out the fire are reported to have failed.

Several other of the company's ships have been diverted from nearby waters to assist in rescue operations, including the MSC Lauren, Edith Maersk and Gerd Maersk.

The Maersk Honam, a 353-metre long, 53.5-metre wide container ship built in 2017, is currently carrying 7,860 containers. Its capacity is 15,000 containers.

Its crew is made up of nationals of India, the Phillippines, Thailand, Romania, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown, according to Maersk Line. The company is working to contact relatives of the crew.

“The evacuated crew has naturally been affected,” Toft said.

Two of the rescued crew members are reported to have received medical attention.

READ ALSO: Maersk to pay 3.7 billion euros for German rival

BUSINESS

Maersk profits up as global supply chain disrupted

Danish shipping giant, AP Møller-Maersk, said Tuesday that profits were up sixfold in the third quarter as the coronavirus pandemic and global supply chain problems caused container prices to soar. 

Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company posted hefty profits in the third quarter of 2021.
Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company posted hefty profits in the third quarter of 2021. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

“Maersk delivered record earnings” in the third quarter, chief executive Soren Skou said.

“In the ongoing exceptional market situation, with high demand in the US and global disruptions to the supply chains, we continued to increase capacity and expand our offerings to keep cargo moving for our customers.” 

Maersk said that its bottom-line net profit amounted to $5.438 billion in the period from July to September, compared with $947 million a year earlier.

Underlying, or operating, profit increased nearly fivefold to $5.859 billion and revenues jumped by 67 percent to $16.612 billion.

“Results in Q3 were driven by high freight rates in an exceptional market situation,” the group said.

Looking ahead, Maersk said it is sticking to its full year forecast for operating profit of 18-19 billion dollars. 

However, the ocean shipping division “is now expected to grow below” projected global container demand of between seven and nine percent this year, “subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion and network disruption,” Maersk said.

“The current trading conditions are still subject to a higher-than-normal uncertainty due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains,” it cautioned.

READ ALSO: Danish shipping giant calls for global carbon tax for shipping

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