Crewmember rescued from burning cargo ship dies

NEW DELHI - One of the 23 crewmembers evacuated from a Singapore-flagged cargo ship that caught fire in the Arabian Sea has died of severe burns, a shipping line official said Thursday.

The chief operating officer of A.P. Moller-Maersk, Soren Toft, said the Thai national passed away after his condition deteriorated drastically.

The fire onboard the Maersk Honam continues and the situation of the vessel is very critical, Toft said in a statement on the company's website.

He said a search was continuing for four crewmembers who were still missing.

"We are doing our outmost in this tragic situation to care for all evacuated colleagues and continue the intense search and rescue operations ongoing for the four crew members currently reported missing," he said.

He said 22 rescued crewmembers were being taken to Sri Lanka on a rescue vessel.

The nationalities of the 27 crew members are: India (13), the Philippines (nine), Romania (one), South Africa (one), Thailand (two) and the United Kingdom (one).

Sailing from Singapore toward Suez, the vessel is currently about 900 nautical miles (1,670 kilometres) southeast of Salalah, Oman, the statement said. The Indian coast guard said the ship caught fire near Agatti Island, about 650 nautical miles (1,200 kilometres) from Kochi in India.

The cause of the fire is not known. It was reported from one of the cargo holds, the statement said.


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