Maersk and the Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: Shipping in a Humanitarian Storm

Research output: Other contributionTeaching case


Since 2011, over a hundred thousand individuals have attempted to reach Europe by sea, and tens of thousands have lost their lives. The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis is among the world's most protracted and tragic humanitarian events involving people on the move (see Box 1 in the case for reflections on the choice of terminology). This teaching case introduces students to the crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean. It foregrounds the inadvertent but often vital role that the private sector has come to play in search-and-rescue operations, including small fishing vessels to global commercial shipping and logistics conglomerates such as the Danish firm AP Moller-Maersk (Maersk). The case introduces students to the complex political context of the crisis, the hardships migrants experience in their efforts to escape conflict and suffering and seek better lives, the practical side of search and rescue efforts, and the many actors involved in the national and international response (or absence thereof) to this crisis. It allows students to explore the reasons for shipping companies' involvement and to consider the different ways in which shipping companies can respond as well as the consequences for the company, those needing assistance, and the unfolding of the crisis. To this end, the case opens with a vignette of the rescue efforts conducted by the crew of the Maersk Etienne in 2020, which saw the crew and 27 refugees stranded at sea for nearly 40 days. This case is part of the CBS free case collection (visit for more information on the collection).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Place of PublicationCranfield
PublisherCase Centre
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Case-Reference no. 323-0221-1

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