Denmark says that “Tunisia is responsible for receiving” the 27 migrants who were rescued in the Mediterranean by a Danish-flagged chemical tanker.
More than a month ago, the Maersk Etienne rescued the migrants, including a pregnant woman and a child, from a flimsy fishing boat just before it sank in the central Mediterranean. Its owners, Maersk Tankers, said food and fresh water are running low.
Denmark “stands ready to assist the Tunisian government,” acting Danish immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek said Monday in a statement. Most of the migrants are from north Africa.
He added that the Scandinavian country “is in dialogue with relevant parties and countries in the area and is trying through diplomatic channels to find a way to disembark the 27 people safely in port.”
“It is a very unfortunate situation,” Dybvad Bek said.
Despite weeks of contacts between Maltese authorities and company representatives, the 186-meter-long (610-foot) vessel remains stuck in international waters 17 miles (27 kilometers) off Malta with no solution in sight.
Malta, which had asked the tanker to rescue the migrants on Aug. 4, often balks at taking in rescued migrants.
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