A South African man is one of four people missing after a fire broke out on the Maersk Honam cargo vessel in the Arabian Sea on Tuesday.
The Danish company confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a South African, two Filipinos, and an Indian national were missing after 23 people were rescued from the vessel.
Søren Toft, chief operating officer of AP Moller-Maersk, said the company was doing all it could to assist the injured, and the families of the missing.
"While the search operation continues the hope of finding our missing colleagues is fading," Toft said.
"We are in contact with their families and they know that tragically, the time passed decreases the likelihood of finding their loved ones alive. Our thoughts and prayers go to them."
The vessel was en route to the Suez Canal in Egypt from Singapore, when a fire broke out in the cargo hold on Tuesday.
Toft earlier said after unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire, 23 crew members were evacuated. One had since passed away due to his injuries, while two others had to be airlifted from the ALS Ceres which assisted with the evacuation.
"The remaining 19 crew members on board ALS Ceres are en route to Cochin, South West India, where medical professionals and crisis psychologists have been arranged for," the company said.
"The cause of the fire is currently unknown. Maersk Line will investigate the matter thoroughly in cooperation with all relevant authorities."