Five Filipino seafarers have been reported missing after abandoning a ship that caught fire 1,800 nautical miles north of Hawaii two weeks ago.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Monday the five men were among 21 Filipino crew-members on board the MV Sincerity Ace who abandoned the Panamanian-flagged vessel after it caught fire on New Year’s Eve 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu, the main island in Hawaii.

“The ‘Sincerity Ace’ was en route to Hawaii from Japan carrying 3,500 brand new vehicles when the fire broke out, forcing the crew to abandon ship,” the department said.

The ship’s manning agency launched search and rescue operations for the missing Filipino workers by sending a tugboat and a vessel to the area.

The 16 other Filipino crew members were rescued by the United States Coast Guard and other passing merchant vessels and have since returned to the Philippines. However, five seamen are still missing.

“The DFA remains hopeful that the five Filipino seafarers reported missing after abandoning their burning cargo vessel off Hawaii two weeks ago will be found,” the department said.