4 presumed dead, 1 mariner missing as massive car carrier continues to burn in Pacific

1 mariner missing, 4 presumed dead as car carrier continues to burn in Pacific

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A large car carrier is still on fire and adrift in the Pacific as rescuers search for a mariner who went missing after the blaze.

Four other crew members from the vessel are “unresponsive” in the water and presumed dead.

Vessels on site are working to recover them, the Coast Guard said.

The 650-foot Panamanian-flagged vessel Sincerity Ace got into trouble on New Year’s Eve about 2,000 miles off Oahu.

Coast Guard and Navy aircrews and two commercial vessels rushed to the area and 16 crew members were rescued.

But the search continues ― across a 6,700-square-mile area — for the crew member who is still missing.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard said Wednesday that the ship has not yet been security and continues to burn.

In a bit of good news, the seas in the area have calmed. Waves are now at about 4 feet, from 16 feet earlier.

Coast Guard

#LIVE: One mariner is missing and four are presumed dead after a large fire onboard a car carrier in the Pacific. The Coast Guard offers the latest on the response. MORE: https://bit.ly/2CMS9Ax #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

“We are thankful for the assistance the crews of these merchant vessels have given us during this event significantly reducing possible response time,” said Lt. Duane Zitta, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu.

“Their quick actions provided for the rescue of 16 members of the crew who would otherwise still be in the water and are continuing to aid us.”

The Sincerity Ace, built in 2009 according to Marine Traffic, was en route to Hawaii from Japan when the fire was reported. The Coast Guard was alerted to the vessel’s distress about 1:04 a.m. Hawaii time Monday.

Those involved in the search are:

  • Two Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrews
  • A Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Green Lake 
  • Crew of the SM Eagle
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel New Century 1
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Venus Spirit 
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Genco Augustus

The International Maritime Organization says the Sincerity Ace is owned by Japan’s Shoei Kisen Co. Ltd.

Coast Guard officials say the ship’s owner is coordinating with merchant vessels for the transport of the rescued mariners. A salvage plan is being drawn up and commercial tugs have been dispatched by the company.

The Sincerity Ace, shown in this 2014 photo, is owned by a Japanese shipping company. (Image: MarineTraffic)
The Sincerity Ace, shown in this 2014 photo, is owned by a Japanese shipping company. (Image: MarineTraffic)

This story will be updated.

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