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Jakarta Post

Viral videos show Indonesian crew pleading for help aboard Chinese fishing vessel

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, August 26, 2020   /   08:20 pm
Viral videos show Indonesian crew pleading for help aboard Chinese fishing vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 117, a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel, was seized by Indonesian authorities in the Riau Islands after they received information about the death of an Indonesian crew member on board. (JP/Fadli)

Videos apparently showing four Indonesian crew members begging to be rescued from abuse aboard a Chinese fishing vessel have gone viral on social media, the latest in a series of alleged abuses aboard such vessels. 

“Please get us off this ship immediately. We are being physically abused here. We were kicked, beaten, and they even threatened to stab us,” one crew member said in the video. Another said that the crew was being punched and kicked every day.

“We are only given four to five hours to rest, and we work for more than 20 hours every day. If we don’t work, they will not give us any food. We are starving,” the man said. 

The sailors said they had worked on the ship for ten months and had yet to receive any payment

“Our contract ends in November 2021, but we can’t wait that long. We could die here,” one of the men said.

“Please help us, Pak,” they said multiple times.

The video, first posted by Instagram account @infogeh, has been shared numerous times and has garnered hundreds of comments, mostly condemning the apparent abuse and similar incidents aboard other Chinese fishing vessels.

The Foreign Ministry said it had received a report and was looking into the matter.

Read also: Indonesia reiterates concern about alleged mistreatment of crewmen on Chinese vessels

“[We] have coordinated with the Transportation Ministry and the Manpower Ministry, which issues permits for Indonesians to work as crew members on ships abroad,” Foreign Ministry director for the protection of citizens and legal entities overseas Judha Nugraha said in a statement on Wednesday.

Judha said the ministry had not received any response from PT Raja Crew Atlantik (RCA), the recruiting agency mentioned in the caption of the viral video.

According to data from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Liao Yuan Yu 103, the fishing vessel mentioned in the post, is owned by Liaoning Kimliner Ocean Fishing Co. Ltd. in Dalian city, China.

Judha said the ministry had coordinated with the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing to seek confirmation from the fishing vessel’s owner and Chinese authorities.

“We will keep trying to call the first party that uploaded the video on social media to get more detailed information,” he said.

This incident is the latest in a string of alleged abuse aboard Chinese fishing vessels. In July, an Indonesian crew member was found dead in the freezer of vessel Lu Huang Yuan Yu 117. In May, a video appeared on Facebook showing a group of sailors on Lu Qing Yuan Yu 623 throwing the body of an Indonesian sailor into the sea. Prior to that, there was public outrage at the death of four Indonesian sailors registered to another Chinese fishing ship.

According to Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) data, at least 30 Indonesian crew members were victims of exploitation aboard Chinese fishing vessels between November 2019 to June 2020, seven of whom have died and three of whom are missing.