A Ukrainian captain's tanker has been stranded in the Mediterranean for more than a month since rescuing 27 migrants off the coast of Libya.
Volodymyr Yeroshkin’s vessel has been unable to dock in any European ports after picking up 25 men, a pregnant woman and a 15-year-old in an Aug. 4 rescue operation coordinated by Malta’s coast guard. Commercial vessels usually house rescued people for no more than three days before disembarking them.
“These people are not given their basic right to step ashore,” Yeroshkin said in a video address shared by Malta’s The Shift News website Saturday.
Appealing for help in accommodating the rescued migrants, Yeroshkin stressed that the Danish-flagged Maersk Etienne is not equipped to hold more people than its 21-member crew.
“None of us could imagine that the vessel could end up in a four-week standoff, keeping rescued people on board, providing them their basic needs, medical assistance and everything needed,” he said.
At least three of the migrants were rescued a second time after throwing themselves overboard Sunday, BBC reported.
The standoff is the third and longest time this year that a commercial vessel hasn’t been allowed into any port, BBC said.
It comes amid a renewed focus on the European migrant crisis, with Greece’s main migrant facility, the Moria camp, burning down and leaving most of its 12,000 asylum seekers in the open air this week. France, Germany and the Netherlands have agreed to take in hundreds of the asylum seekers, primarily children.