MUMBAI: Maersk container ship caught fire on Wednesday following an explosion near Lakshwadeep Islands. Out of the 27 crew members who were onboard, 23 have been rescued while the search is on for the missing four members. There were thirteen Indians onboard.
The blast took place in the Arabian sea at 340 nautical miles from Agatti in Lakshwadeep Islands. Rescue operations are underway by the Indian Coast Guard and Maritime Rescue Coordination Center.
The 330-metre-long Maersk Honam was en route Suez from Singapore when it caught fire with flames from the main deck of the ship rising up to its bridge upto a height of about 25 metres.
The vessel reported an explosion and fire on board and requested immediate assistance.
"The ship had 27 crew members on board, of whom four are missing. Out of the 27 crew members, 13 are Indians including the captain of the ship," the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said. The crew has abandoned the ship as the fire spread beyond control, it said.
After getting information about the mishap, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai immediately alerted all the merchant ships near the location through the satellite-based communication network, the International Safety Net (ISN), ICG said.
"The search operations are on and the Coast Guard assets have been pressed into action," said Inspector General K R Nautiyal, the commander of the Coast Guard West region.
"It is our priority to save and rescue the four missing crew and also continue our efforts to salvage the vessel with the assistance of specialised vessels, which are being arranged," he added.