11 September 2020: The 27 rescued persons who have been on board Maersk Etienne for 38 days have been safely disembarked. Today they were transferred to the ship Mare Jonio operated by the non-governmental organisation Mediterranea.
We have been increasingly concerned for the rescued persons’ physical and mental health following their prolonged stay onboard Maersk Etienne. The situation has worsened following the recent incident where three of the persons jumped overboard, and we have seen continuous issues with minor medical aliments and a recent threat to go onto hunger strike.
We requested assistance and agreed with Mediterranea that they will 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.
Maersk Etienne will proceed to a suitable port where we will follow up with a debriefing of the crew and ensure they too get the care they need.
The captain and the crew of the Maersk Etienne have honorably fulfilled their duty at sea, and we are proud and greatly appreciative of their efforts. We thank them, Mediterranea, shipping and trade associations and human rights groups who have supported us since the rescue operation took place.
“We are relieved and grateful. The rescued persons can now finally get the medical care they need and our crew can continue their voyage safely. While we are appreciative of the support from Mediterranea in helping us to bring a closure to this unprecedented situation, we are at the same time deeply concerned that it has not been possible to find a solution before now. It has been very difficult for the rescued persons and our crew,” says Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer, Maersk Tankers.