Three migrants aboard oil tanker Maersk Etienne jump overboard in desperation

Three migrants aboard Danish flagged oil tanker Maersk Etienne receive treatment after jumping overboard

Maersk Etienne tanker picked up the migrants on 5 August after being alerted by Sea-Watch
Maersk Etienne tanker picked up the migrants on 5 August after being alerted by Sea-Watch

Three migrants aboard the Danish-flagged vessel Maersk Etienne have jumped overboard, the company has tweeted.

The migrants form part of a group of 27 who were rescued by the cargo ship four weeks' ago and remain stranded after Malta refused to allow their disembarkation.

The Maersk Etienne tanker picked up the migrants on 5 August after being alerted by Sea-Watch of the people in distress.

Both Malta and Italy have hardened their positions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the increasing number of migrant departures from Libya.

Malta is refusing to allow the disembarkation of the group, which includes a pregnant woman and a minor, with government sources saying they are seeking a 'European' solution to the issue.

“Situation on #Maersk #Etienne escalated this morning when 3 #migrants jumped overboard,” the company’s twitter page stated.

Crew aboard the oil tanker acted quickly and recovered the persons in distress who are now being given their due care.

“We continue to plead for urgent humanitarian assistance for the 27 migrants stranded aboard Etienne,” the Maersk Tankers page said.

In a video message on Friday, the ship’s captain Volodymyr Yeroshkin had warned that migrants aboard the ship had threatened to throw themselves off the vessel in desperation.

“They are anxious to disembark… they want to get in touch with their loved ones and family,” he said.

In August the European Court of Human Rights turned down a request for migrants onboard the Etienne to be brought into Malta.

The ruling said that Malta’s decision did not place their lives at risk of inhumane treatment and therefore the safety of these people is not under threat.

However, the captain said that water rations are running low as the ship’s reserves are almost depleted.

“They simply want to step ashore… none of our crew is trained to give medical assistance," he added.

During an interview on Sunday, Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted the migrants aboard the ship are not Malta’s responsibility.

He said the government was focusing on tackling the problem with “all hands on deck”.

Abela also said the responsibility should be shouldered by the Danish government, as the tanker flies under a Danish flag.

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