#CrimesOfMalta: The longest stand-off in the history of the Maltese rescue zone: European authorities deny a port of safety for more than five weeks to a merchant vessel that complied with its duty to rescue.
04.08.2020 – 12.09.2020:
Watch The Med – Alarmphone was called by 27 people on board a boat in distress and immediately alerted the relevant authorities. The crew of the Moonbird then discovered the people during their mission in the Maltese SAR zone.Although the offshore supply vessel Maridive 601 was in the vicinity, it did not respond to the radio calls from the Moonbird crew. The Danish-flagged tanker Maersk Etienne was 11 nautical miles away from the distress and was already heading for the position.
The Maersk Etienne crew secured the boat and provided assistance but did not successfully rescue the people in distress until the next morning when they took care of them on deck. The ship then set course for Malta, as the Maltese authorities were responsible for this case in their rescue zone and had given Maersk Etienne coordinating instructions. The people on board the Maersk Etienne had to wait outside Maltese territorial waters for more than five weeks because the request for a port of safety was consistently refused.
A merchant ship is neither equipped nor is the crew trained to take care of 27 people on board for such a long time. The people were deprived of their fundamental rights for weeks, and the crew was left alone by the authorities. Three people jumped overboard during this time but were fortunately saved by the staff. After more than 5 weeks, the rescued people were transferred to the NGO ship Mare Jonio due to a medical emergency, and after almost 6 weeks, they were brought ashore in Italy.
In the series #CrimesOfMalta, we reconstruct 10 human rights violations in 10 weeks, which were also witnessed by our airplane Moonbird. The case reconstructions will be collected on our website and accompanied politically and philosophically on taz blogs.