27 migrants transferred to NGO vessel after 6 weeks stranded in tanker


  • An oil tanker owned by the shipping company Maersk Tankers rescued 27 migrants off the coast of Malta on 4 August.
  • Subsequently, the ship – whose supplies began – was unable to dock anywhere, prompting the Marsak tankers to launch formal appeals to governments.
  • On 6 September, the three emigrants boarded the ship in frustration, and left a note thanking the captain, but saying: “European[s] We do not need. “(He eventually survived the leap.)
  • On 11 September, the migrants were transferred from the tanker to a human vessel, and are now in “critical” psychological condition according to them Nonprofit Mediterranean.
  • So far, no country is still allowing them to come. An ongoing international impasse about where they can reach dry land continues.
  • For more stories visit the Business Insider homepage.

Twenty-seven expatriates are suffering “severe” physical and psychological effects after being stranded on an oil tanker for twenty-six weeks, a humanitarian nonprofit organization said.

The migrants, who were aboard by Maersk Etienne in early August, were lifted as no country allowed the tanker to dock with the migrants.

Supplies were running low on the ship, and the vessel warned that the situation was uncertain. Three migrants threw themselves into the water in frustration in early September.

The trio were rescued again, but they did so before their jumps – and their heartfelt notes were written to the captain – were read as a cry for help.

On Friday, all 27 migrants were transferred from Marriott tankers to the company operating Etienne, and the humanitarian group Mediterraneana Rescue, which operates the rescue ship, according to a tweet from Mars Jonk Tankers.

Maersk Etienne is determined to dock at a “suitable port” and to get the crew “in need of care,” Maersk tankers said in a statement.

Mediterranean Rescue said, meanwhile, the migrants are in “serious mental-physical conditions”.

A story of three boats

On 4 August, Maersk Etienne responded to an urgent request from the Maltese authorities to rescue a group of migrants in distress, according to Maersk tankers.

As the group was rescued, their Ramshakal vessel shattered, the company said.

Marsak Etienne Migrant Boat Caught

An aerial view shows the migrants sitting in a boat with Mersk Etienne off the coast of Malta in this handout image provided on August 19, 2020.

Kay von Coetz / Seawatch via Reuters


At this point, the tanker was congested and unable to dock.

The majority of the European Union falls within the Schengen area, a region that requires visas for many countries.

But the nationality of the migrants is not clear, and it is unknown whether they planned to claim asylum in a country or whether they are attempting unspecified economic migration.

Many European countries – including Italy, one of the easiest shores to reach from the Mediterranean Sea – have taken a tough line on migrating outside the block since migrants and refugee numbers reached a peak in 2015.

Prior to the transfer of 27 migrants on Friday, the ship remained about 20 miles off the east coast of Malta, according to a website, Maritime Traffic, which tracks shipping movements in real time.

Malta Marsak Etienne Migrants

A map showing the state of Malta, on whose coast migrants are stranded.

Google Maps / Business Insider


‘They just want to step in for shelter’

According to Deloitte, tankers and cargo vessels have smaller crew – around 23 on average, and limited habitable space.

With 27 additional people, the ship’s population had more than doubled. According to the company, the migrants include a pregnant woman and a child.

Marsak Etienne trapped Libyan immigrants

A view of the deck of Maersk Etienne.

Marshak tanker


“The merchant fleet is neither designed nor cared for by additional people, and we are rapidly depleting supplies,” Tommy Thomassen, chief technical officer of Marsak Tankers, said in an August 19 statement.

“Unfortunately, the frustration of these people is increasing day by day,” Captain Volodymyr Yeroskin also said in a video statement published by the company.

“They are eager to do some work. They are eager to get in touch with their loved ones and families. They just want to move towards the shelter,” he said.

Marsak Etienne trapped Libyan immigrants

Capt. Volodymyr Yeroshin of Maersk Etienne.

Marshak tanker


Large parts of the vessel are also dangerous for those who are not trained to work on ships. Migrants were allocated a safe area of ​​the ship with basic sleep and shelter arrangements.

But supplies were running low, and the company said the situation was uncertain.

‘European[s] We don’t need to be alive ‘

In this situation, some migrants have lost hope.

According to Yeroshkin, the captain, one of the migrants told him that he felt the crew did not deserve the position they were in, and warned that he could jump overboard.

“We had a hard time celebrating him [not] To board the ship, “Yeroskin said.” So it just gives a picture of how disappointed these people are. We really need immediate help. ”

It is unclear whether this person was among the three people who eventually made the jump on 6 September.

One of those who jumped left a heartbreaking note for the captain, saying that he was their “hero”, but “there is no solution for us.”

“We’ll go back into the water either way,” read the note. “European[s] We do not need to be alive. “

what next?

Mersk tankers appealed to governments to address the situation, which was becoming an international deadlock between European governments and Tunisia.

Although the migrants have now moved the tanker, it is unclear what their next steps will be, or how – and where – they can reach dry land.

Maersk tankers said in the 9th statement, “International law and maritime conventions place clear obligations on responsible governments to ensure people in crisis.”

European Union shipowners’ unions and the European Transport Workers Union – a trade organization and a union respectively – called the EU commissioner and vice-president the situation a “humanitarian crisis”, about the shipping news site All Shipping.

In a series of tweets, Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, wrote that migrants were in European waters when they were first spotted by the Maltese authorities, but Tunisians had moved into the waters by the time they were picked up.

Roth suggested that this situation meant that expatriates are the responsibility of the European Union, and that the blame was “an excuse” that the responsibility lay with Tunisia.

While this is not the first time a merchant ship has rescued migrant boats, Business Insider understands that this is the longest time legally spent in “limbo” due to a rescue.

The spark of Syria’s civil war has brought the situation on the borders of Europe amid a years-old migrant crisis, with refugee numbers added only to migrants from other countries.