We have learned of an official investigation involving the non-governmental organisation Mediterranea related to the Maersk Etienne incident.
On August 5th, 2020 the crew of the Maersk Etienne rescued 27 persons who were in distress at sea at the request of Maltese authorities. Once rescued, they and the crew were left stranded for an unprecedented 38 days, with no authority willing to allow the ship to call port and permit safe disembarkation of the rescued persons.
After several calls for assistance went unanswered, the situation became dire from a humanitarian point of view. We agreed with Mediterranea that they would conduct a health assessment using the medical team onboard the Mare Jonio. The transfer to the ship occurred following their assessment that the rescued persons’ condition called for immediate care in suitable medical facilities. It was a humanitarian situation and we want to clarify that at no time before or during the operation was any financial compensation or support discussed or agreed.
Months after the rescue operation Maersk Tankers met with representatives from Mediterranena to thank them for their humanitarian assistance. Following this meeting, we decided to make a contribution to Mediterranea to cover some of the costs they endured as a result of the operation. This was done in the amount of 125,000 euros and with the full support of Maersk Tankers’ management.
At this time, we have not been contacted by the authorities in connection with the investigation, but we are ready to assist, if approached.
We continue to push for decisive political action to avoid a repeat of the Maersk Etienne incident. The most notable work on the issue is through Danish Shipping who are in dialogue with Danish authorities, the European Union, the International Maritime Organization and other relevant parties.