Oil tanker cannot get rid of rescued migrants in Malta

Off the coast of Malta, an oil tanker with 27 migrants has been waiting to enter port for a month. According to the captain, the Maltese government does not want to take responsibility for those on board, writes the Times of Malta.

The Danish ship Maersk Etienne took the migrants on board on 4 August, according to the captain at the request of the Maltese government. The government denies this, and there is no one who wants to admit the migrants now.

In a video the captain tells us that the reserves are running out and the situation is getting more and more dire. “The migrants are desperate,” he says. “They want to go ashore and contact family. One of the migrants even threatened to jump overboard. That would most likely mean his death.” He insists his crew wasn’t trained to assist drowning people.

Moral and legal obligation

The Dutch Shipping Association KVNR recognises the situation. “We have been suffering from this for years,” says spokesman Nathan Habers. “The shipping industry has a moral and legal obligation to assist drowning people, but it is not sufficiently regulated at European level as to what should happen to them next

Habers points out that as captain, you also have responsibility for the safety of your crew. He thinks that the Dutch government should work on this in a European context.