By Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2020

ROME (AP) - A tanker that rescued 27 migrants at Malta’s request three weeks ago, was still awaiting permission Friday to bring them to land, and supplies aboard were reportedly running low.

The Danish-flagged Maersk Etienne, operated by Maersk Tankers, took aboard the migrants, including a pregnant woman and a child, from their foundering small boat shortly before it sank, according to Danish Shipping, a trade and employer organization.

The Etienne crew has supplied the passengers with blankets, water and food while it anchors off Malta’s coast.

Like Italy, Malta, in the central Mediterranean, insists that fellow European Union nations pledge to take in rescued migrants before letting them disembark. Relatively few EU nations offer to take the migrants while they apply for asylum. Many of those rescued are economic migrants and generally aren’t eligible for asylum in Europe.

Many set sail for Europe’s southern shores in flimsy boats launched by human traffickers, many of whom are based in Libya.

Maersk Tankers said it had no additional information Friday about the stalemate. It didn’t immediately respond to a request about what, if any, cargo the Etienne has aboard.

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