The situation is apparently tense on a Maersk ship that has been off Malta for more than a month with 27 migrants on board.
Three of the migrants jumped overboard Sunday morning. This is stated in a post on Twitter by Maersk Tankers, which is one of the world’s largest shipping companies in the transport of oil and gas.
– The situation on “Maersk Etienne” escalated this morning when three migrants jumped overboard. The crew acted quickly and the rescued people are now receiving the necessary care.
– We continue to ask for rapid humanitarian assistance to the 27 migrants stranded on board Etienne, it says.
It is not clear whether it was an attempt to land on the southern European island state of Malta. The migrants were picked up in Tunisian waters , but it was Malta’s coast guard who asked Maersk to help.
Among the migrants on board are a pregnant woman and a child.
An untenable situation
The ship has not been allowed to land with the migrants, which has created an increasingly unsustainable situation.
On 4 August, a Maltese rescue center asked the Maersk ship, “Maersk Etienne”, to sail to the migrants, who were on board a small motorboat, and be ready to help should the need arise.
The next day, the Maersk ship evacuated the migrants from the boat, which sank shortly after.
Since then, the ship with a crew of 21 men, who are actually on their way to Tunisia, has been lying off Malta with an unresolved situation because Malta refuses to accept the migrants.
For all intents and purposes, the government wants to prevent migrants from coming to Denmark, it was announced earlier this week.
A Danish working group has been set up to work on a solution.
Maria Skipper Schwenn, director of safety, environment and maritime research at Danske Rederier, believes that the situation is unsustainable.
– This is what we feared could happen, it is the symbol of how difficult that situation is and how desperate it is. A month has passed and it is a record time for migrants on board a ship in European waters .
– It is not something you do without risk, there are twenty meters from the railing and down to the waterline. Everyone knows that one can break the neck or back of such a jump and there is no guarantee that they were rescued.
– Fortunately, they did, because it is a skilled crew that is on board “Maersk Etienne”, she says.
/ ritzau /