The tragedy of the Maersk Honam continued to unfold on the Indian Ocean today when Maersk Line announced that three of the four missing crew had been found dead.

It added that the search for the last unaccounted crew member had been called off.

“Given the time passed and the severe fire damages of the vessel, we must conclude that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire broke out on 6 March,” said the carrier.

All next of kin have been informed, the company said. “Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and will do our outmost to support them at this devastating time,” chief operating officer Søren Toft said.

Search parties on the vessel are continuing to work, as are fire-fighting efforts led by Smit Salvage and Ardent.

The line said 22 crew members who were evacuated “have received medical treatment and the majority have been released from hospitals. Colleagues who initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew”.

“Our colleagues that were evacuated to local hospitals in varying conditions of health are improving and we are now preparing to bring them back to their families as their condition allows,” Palle Laursen, chief technical officer for Maersk Line, added.

Shippers and forwarders with shipments on the vessel can expect a long wait for their cargo after Maersk and its 2M partner MSC declared general average (GA) late last week.

Law firm Richards Hogg Lindley has been appointed to collect the necessary GA security from shippers before cargo can be released.

This includes a copy of the cargo invoice, an average bond signed by the cargo owner and either an average guarantee for insured cargo signed by its insurers, or a cash deposit for uninsured cargo.

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