The situation onboard Maersk Etienne escalated further this morning when three migrants jumped overboard. The captain and crew were quick to implement recovery procedures and the three persons have now been rescued and brought back onboard the ship where they are being given due care.
The incident comes after the migrants have been left stranded on the ship for over a month, following the responsible authorities’ failed attempt to find a solution to safely disembark them. They continue to plead for urgent humanitarian assistance for the 27 people onboard the Maersk Etienne and ask that they are immediately given the attention and care they need.
Background (September 1st):
Maersk Tankers were calling on responsible governments for urgent humanitarian assistance and a safe disembarkation of the 27 people we rescued four weeks ago. They asked the relevant authorities to ensure that these migrants are immediately tended to and provided the care and attention they need. Doing so will also allow our captain and crew to continue their voyage and return home to their families.
Following a request from Maltese officials on 4 August our crew rescued 27 migrants stranded in Tunisian waters. The rescued – who include a pregnant woman and at least one minor – have been forced to remain on board our Danish-flagged tanker Maersk Etienne now for twenty-seven days. This is a new and unfortunate record for migrants held abroad a commercial ship.
Maersk Etienne’s crew continue to provide as much support and assistance as they can to this vulnerable group, but they lack the resources to offer sustained humanitarian and medical care. A tanker ship is neither designed nor equipped to accommodate additional people; we therefore find ourselves in a situation where our supplies are rapidly depleting.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have both voiced their concerns over the lack of political response over this crisis. We appreciate the support of both organisations as we are deeply concerned about the situation on board the ship.