European shipowners call upon authorities to disembark the migrants on board the Alexander Maersk as soon as possible

ECSA, the European Community shipowners’ associations, expressed on the 12th of June its concern about the problems the Aquarius vessel faced to disembark migrants in Malta and Italy and warned that also merchant vessels could be faced with this situation. The current situation with the Alexander Maersk shows that this warning was sadly enough not a theoretical one.

ECSA repeats its urgent wish that merchant vessels have the certainty that migrants can be disembarked at a European port as soon as possible, and urge European authorities to take all the necessary steps to guarantee this.

Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General said: “It is not acceptable that a merchant vessel, saving migrants on its own or called upon to assist in search and rescue activities, is confronted with this kind of problems. Problems that potentially affect the safety and well-being of the migrants and the crew”.

Crew on board a merchant vessel is not trained to undertake large scale rescue operations nor are merchant vessels equipped to have migrants on board for a longer period of time. Martin Dorsman said: “We know from the past that a crew of 16 seafarers had to look after some 400 migrants. That can only be for a very limited period of time. But also smaller number of migrants need to be disembarked fast”.

For more information, please contact:

Martin Dorsman
Secretary General

Rue Ducale, Hertogstraat 67/B2, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
T +32 2 510 61 26


Karoliina Rasi
Director – Public Affairs & Communications

Rue Ducale, Hertogstraat 67/B2, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
T +32 2 510 61 34 

M +32 476 349 263