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  • Migrants try to board an oil tanker, Mediterranean Sea, 2020.

    Migrants try to board an oil tanker, Mediterranean Sea, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @seawatchcrew

Published 3 September 2020
Opinion

“We are in a desperate situation”, Maersk Tankers Chief Technology OfficerCTO said.

Maersk Tankers Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Tommy Thomassen warned that 27 migrants who were rescued by the Maersk Etienne oil tanker 29 days ago need immediate help.

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"We are calling on responsible governments for urgent humanitarian assistance and safe disembarkation of the 27 people we rescued over 4 weeks ago. We ask relevant authorities to give immediate attention and care to this vulnerable group," Maersk Tankers stated.

Currently, they remain in waters close to Malta, a country that did not allow them to enter its territory. For the first time since the rescue of the shipwrecked, the Danish shipping company broke its silence to explain that the tension among those onboard is growing.

"Some of our guests have threatened to throw themselves overboard due to their desperation. Our team managed to dissuade them but the situation is becoming increasingly difficult," Thomassen told The Times of Malta.

"The food and water rations are running out because the ship's reserves are nearly depleted," he added and explained that the oil tanker is not equipped to hold that many people.

The shipping company had not spoken publicly about the situation on its ship because it hoped to solve the problem quietly through high-level conversations with political figures. However, this option has not happened.

"We have collected good intentions and a lot of sympathy but there is still no solution. There is no date. The situation on board is very difficult. The ship is not made to accommodate many passengers. The tension is enormous. We want to shout our request for help to all the competent institutions," the Maersk Tankers CTO told the Italian outlet Il Manifesto.

A month ago, the Maltese Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) asked the Danish oil tanker to respond to a distress call and to help the sinking migrants.

"If it weren't for the captain's good judgment, they would have drowned," Thomassen said, adding that private companies shouldn't have to do what regional authorities should do.

"We are fulfilling our duty to save lives at sea. So we hope the authorities will do the same," he stressed.

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