Robert Maersk Uggla, the CEO of A.P. Moller Holding, has today decried the “terrible precedent” set by European governments for their failure to handle a refugee case onboard one of Maersk Tankers’ vessels.
Following a request from Maltese officials on August 4 the crew of the Danish-flagged Maersk Etienne rescued 27 migrants stranded in Tunisian waters. The rescued – who include a pregnant woman and at least one minor – have been forced to remain onboard the Danish-flagged tanker now for 29 days.
The industry is dumbfounded by the inaction of relevant states
“This is a new and unfortunate record for migrants held abroad a commercial ship,” Maersk Tankers warned in a release this week.
Taking to Linkedn, Uggla wrote that it was “deeply concerning” that authorities have not come up with a solution for the refugees, saying they’d now been living for nearly a month under “unacceptable” living conditions.
“The case sets a terrible precedent for the global merchant fleet and the Mediterranean trade lane. While our Group has rescued thousands of people over the years, we struggle to remember ever having a case, where a vessel and its crew have been left without support from authorities for so long. Not only is the industry dumbfounded by the inaction of relevant states, but Human Right Watch’s CEO has raised humanitarian concerns,” Uggla wrote, adding: “While many of us acknowledge the challenging political considerations, we are desperately awaiting Malta and Denmark to find a solution for the refugees, with EU or other relevant parties, so the ship and its crew are released.
Christian Ingerslev, the CEO of Maersk Tankers, also has used social media to try and resolve the issue onboard the tanker.
“We ask the relevant authorities to ensure that these migrants are immediately tended to and provided the care and attention they need. Doing so will also allow our captain and crew to continue their voyage and return home to their families,” Ingerslev wrote on LinkedIn yesterday.