MIGRANTS ON KAUNAS SEAWAYS FLOWN TO ALGERIA
Yesterday (31 October) the last six of 12 migrants, who for three months had been on board DFDS' Lithuanian vessel Kaunas Seaways in the Black Sea, were taken off the ship in order to be flown back to their home countries via the airport in Odessa and Turkey. Six of the migrants were sent home to Algeria on 29 October, while six are underway today.
The migrants, who came on board hidden in trailers with goods from Turkey, had been on board since 27 July as no country was willing to take them. It was necessary to keep them in cabins under guard on board for their own safety as well as with regard to passengers and crew members.
"I am relieved and pleased that a solution has been found. It is untenable and unacceptable to keep people on board for such a long time. I would therefore like to express my sincere thanks to everyone concerned in Denmark, Lithuania, Ukraine, Turkey, Algeria and Morocco for helping to resolve the problem. Thanks also to the crew and the management in Lithuania, who have acted extremely professionally and handled the very difficult situation incredibly well. And I hope that the migrants can quickly resume a normal life in their home countries," says Niels Smedegaard, CEO of DFDS A/S.
DFDS' Executive Vice President of People & Ships, Henrik Holck, has been in ongoing contact with a special task force set up by the Danish foreign ministry to help DFDS find a diplomatic solution. "A big thanks is due for the invaluable support we have received from the Danish foreign ministry, Danish Maritime Authority and the embassies in Lithuania, Ukraine, Turkey, Algeria and Morocco. Their perseverance and knowledge have been crucial in resolving the diplomatic knot that the matter created," he adds.
Kaunas Seaways, which is owned by DFDS, sails freight and passengers for shipping company Ukrferry between Haydarpasa in Istanbul and Chornomorsk near Odessa in Ukraine.
Niels Smedegaard: +45 33 42 34 00
Henrik Holck: +45 33 42 32 34
Gert Jakobsen: +45 24 40 00 43