352 Refugees Rescued by Evelyn Maersk
By Hanne Hansen of CO-Sea
The container ship Evelyn Maersk took 352 boat people on board in the Mediterranean on Sunday. The people have now landed safely in Sicily.
On Saturday evening, the Evelyn Maersk was approached by one of the Mediterranean's rescue coordination centers with the message that a fishing boat was taking in water. According to the chief press officer in Maersk Line, Michael Christian Storgaard, the notice also said that a number of refugees were on board the vessel.
After a few hours of sailing to the distressed fishing vessel, the crew found the vessel was taking on water and that its engine had broken down. There were 352 refugees on board.
The operation of loading the people on board stretched into the night and was finally completed at 0300. There were 43 children among the refugees from countries including Syria and the Horn of Africa.
After agreement with the Italian authorities, the refugees disembarked in Sicily.
The crew on board, especially the Danish steward, was kept very busy feeding the large number of extra people on board. From the galley, steward and DMMA union member Hedy Sparre Lundt said it was a little overwhelming with 352 extra people eating on board. “Fortunately, I have good help and understanding from the entire crew,” she said hastily in an email to DMMA.
According to Storgaard, there was no reason for concern about the refugees not having enough food to eat for the short trip to Sicily.
The ship, which was en route from Suez towards Algeciras in Spain, will now resume its normal schedule.