Franck Keyser, Ship Management, V.Ships: Maersk Etienne situation

Sep 10 2020

The situation on board the Maersk Etienne calls for politicians and governments to take immediate responsibility.

While it is great to see the Danish government working hard to ensure the safety of the 27 refugees picked up by Maersk Etienne it is with a mixture of disappointment and frustration that we witness the situation.


The captain and his crew on board Maersk Etienne have followed the ethics of every professional seafarer in the world and rendered assistance to those in peril at sea. It is not only a key part of the seafarer’s morale compass but also required by international law.


Put simply, theses seafarers did the only right thing to do. The result of being a good global citizen is now that the owners of the vessels are paying a high cost for their representatives adhering to the law and the seafarers code of conduct.


Let’s be clear, this is a human rights issue and it is disappointing to see the indifference coming from certain parties involved.


It is shameful to see that the human rights of refugees and the 21 seafarers involved are being ignored and that they are being ‘sacrificed’ for the sake of “not wanting to create precedents”. It is in situations like these that the maritime community needs to have trust in those that the industry serves to ensure they are not left in limbo, as they are now.


The fate of Maersk Etienne represents a dangerous precedent for creating a new heartless attitude at sea, an attitude where it does not pay to be a professional and decent seafarer and human being. Turning a blind eye to fellow human beings in distress at seas MUST NEVER become an acceptable act. That would be detrimental for the whole morale codex at sea and truly negatively impact the trust between people that international trade promotes.


We are calling for governments to take actions and let the refugees on board Maersk Etienne come ashore and have their situation resolved by the proper authorities and let the captain and his crew commence their voyage.


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