The captain and crew of a product tanker that had been stranded in Malta for 38 days during the Mediterranean migrant crisis was recognised by Danish Shipping for their rescue efforts.

In an annual event held on Thursday, the industry group gave out three Maritime Prizes to crews from different companies for their extraordinary efforts at sea.

Captain Volodymyr Yeroshkin and his crew received one of them after they saved 27 Libyan migrants off Tunisia when working aboard the 36,900-dwt Maersk Etienne (built 2004).

The refugees, including a pregnant woman and at least one minor, were on board a ship that was adrift and taking on water on 5 August.

The Maersk Etienne crew allowed the migrants aboard and brought them to Malta at the behest of the island country. But Malta refused to allow the refugees to disembark.

Malta said the rescue did not happen in its territorial waters and that the Maersk Etienne was not told to bring the migrants.

On 11 September, non-governmental organisation Mediterranean Saving Humans finally stepped in, transferring the migrants to its vessel Mare Jonio.

Following the transfer, the Mare Jonio received permission from the Italian authorities to land the distressed passengers in Italy. Its crew also received a prize from Danish Shipping on Thursday.

“We did our duty as seafarers and human beings, and it means a lot to me that our care for the rescuees and our seamanship are being recognised,” said Yeroshkin, whose ship was controlled by Maersk Tankers at the time of the incident.

“I am sure my colleagues at sea would have done the same if they had found themselves in a similar situation – it just happened on our watch.”

The captain has decided to donate the prize money of DKK 25,000 ($4,100) to Mediterranean Saving Humans.

The third crew that received the same prizes worked on board Esvagt’s 1,918-bhp Esvagt Cantana (built 2015).

The crew continued to provide life-saving first-aid to their colleague, Asbjorn Morell, long after the doctors on shore had made it clear over the radio that it was pointless to continue.

Morell survived his cardiac arrest and is now sailing again with the safety standby vessel.