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Jakarta Post

RI sailors adrift in sea of exploitation, precarity

  • Dian Septiari

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 23 2020   /  01:00 am
This picture taken on April 7, 2018 shows Indonesian military guarding the crew next to a seized alleged "slave ship" at the naval port of Sabang, following a dramatic high seas chase before the boat was captured some 60 miles (95 kilometres) from Weh Island in Aceh province. Indonesia seized the alleged "slave ship" following a dramatic high seas chase sparked by an Interpol alert after the vessel escaped capture in China and Mozambique, authorities said on April 10. (AFP/File)

Most Indonesians were taught at school to be proud of their seafaring ancestors, but such pride has not translated into sufficient state protection. The livelihood remains among the most vulnerable to exploitation. As the International Maritime Organization (IMO) prepares to celebrate the Day of the Seafarer on June 25, public sentiment in Indonesia is dominated by shock and outrage. In recent months, a series of reports have emerged of Indonesian seafarers enduring poor working conditions aboard Chinese fishing vessels, including grueling hours and inhumane treatment. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced in May that four Indonesian sailors who had been registered to the Chinese fishing vessel Long Xin 629 had died. The deaths of the four sailors, one of whom was buried at sea, exposed the grim conditions that Indonesian migrant workers face in the fisheries sector. Earli...