The odyssey of 27 migrants stranded onboard a tanker for 38 dayshas lastly come to an finish, because the passengers have been lastly allowed to disembark in Sicily in what has been described as ‘‘the longest standoff in European maritime historical past”.’
On 5 August, the Danish tanker Maersk Etienne responded to requests from Maltese authorities to assist an overcrowded boat in misery carrying 27 asylum seekers, together with a pregnant lady and a baby, about 70 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast.
After the rescue, the Maltese authorities refused to let the migrants disembark on its territory regardless of having requested the tanker to intervene, and the Maersk Etienne was left stranded at sea for nearly 40 days.
On 6 September, three migrants have been rescued off the coast of Malta after they jumped overboard out of desperation. Others onboard started to self-harm.
“We require speedy help,’’ the ship’s captain, Volodymyr Yeroshkin, mentioned in a video, recorded on 2 September. ‘’These individuals need to disembark, as quickly as attainable. They’re anxious to get in contact with their family members and households. They merely wish to step ashore.”
“Maersk Etienne is a chemical tanker,’’ Yeroshkin added, ‘‘which is neither geared up nor constructed for conserving individuals onboard. It is a cargo vessel – the crew are skilled seafarers and none of them are certified for medical help, or caring for rescued individuals.”
The turning level got here final Friday, when the rescue boat Mare Jonio, operated by the Italian NGO Mediterranea, approached the Maersk Etienne and transferred the migrants to its boat.
On Saturday afternoon, the Italian inside ministry ultimately authorised the touchdown of the passengers, who disembarked a number of hours later on the port of Pozzallo, in Sicily.
‘‘Thus ends the longest and most shameful standoff in European, maritime historical past,’’ the NGO Mediterranea wrote on its Fb account.
In December 2018, 49 migrants have been pressured to spend the Christmas and New 12 months holidays onboard a SeaWatch rescue boat after Italian authorities refused to let it dock. The passengers have been ultimately disembarked in Malta on 9 January.
In August 2019, greater than 100 migrants have been caught on the Spanish rescue ship, Open Arms, for 19 days off the island of Lampedusa. In July, Italy’s senate voted to permit the prosecution of the previous inside minister Matteo Salvini for blocking the vessel .
In the meantime, the Open Arms carried out its third rescue in 48 hours. The boat is now carrying 276 migrants onboard and is searching for a secure place to land them.
To date in 2020, greater than 500 refugees and migrants are identified to have died within the Mediterranean Sea, and the true quantity is estimated to be significantly larger. Greater than 21.500 migrants have survived the Mediterranean crossing alongside the central maritime route this 12 months and reached Italy or Malta.