Maersk Honam Continues to Burn
On Friday, number-two container line Mediterranean Shipping Company advised its customers that the fire on the container vessel Maersk Honam continues to burn, more than five weeks after it started. Firefighting and cooling efforts continue, with several hotspots remaining.
On March 6, a fire broke out in a cargo hold forward of the accommodations block on the Maersk Honam. Five crewmembers died as a result of the blaze, and an unknown amount of cargo was destroyed. Insurers expect damages to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Maersk Line is the Honam's operator, and MSC is Maersk's partner in the 2M ocean carrier alliance. MSC has given its customers periodic updates on the salvage effort, but has been more than one month since Maersk's last written announcement about the Honam was published on its site.
As of Friday, the Honam was still in the Arabian Sea, roughly halfway between Muscat and Karachi. MSC said that the salvors still plan to tow her to Jebel Ali, UAE, where the surviving cargo will be offloaded.
"We will only be able to clarify the situation once the cargo has been discharged and inspected but we can now provide to the owners of cargoes that were stored in the holds 1 to 3 some certificate of total loss if requested," MSC said in a statement. "For the other cargoes [aft of the accommodations block], insurers should prepare the required GA and Salvage security bonds . . . as those documents will be essential for the cargoes to reach their final destinations and be released under General Average." Maersk's General Adjuster has not yet finalized the request for salvage security bonds, as the salvage operation is still ongoing, MSC said.
The Honam was due to arrive in Jebel Ali last week. She is attended by several salvage tugs, and AIS data from Thursday showed the group on a varying course headed away from Jebel Ali. On Friday, the AIS signal for the attending vessel Amazon Chieftain Z showed her turning 170 degrees and making way for Jebel Ali at roughly three knots. The Honam is also accompanied by the Zwerver 2, Maersk Involver and Posh Perserverance.