Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) – The Aceh provincial government has provided clothing and cash to 28 Acehnese fishermen quarantined for a fortnight at a Jakarta hotel after their repatriation from India.
“May the aid package the Aceh Social Affairs Office has provided be enough to meet their needs,” head of the Aceh Provincial Government’s Liaison Office in Jakarta, Almuniza Kamal, said on Monday.
On Sunday, the clothing and cash were handed over to a representative of the 28 fishermen at the Mercure Hotel-Gatot Subroto, where they are currently being quarantined, he informed.
Shortly after arriving in Jakarta from India, the fishermen needed clothes as they were carrying very limited items of clothing, he said.
While the fishermen’s basic needs during the quarantine period are being fulfilled by the government’s COVID-19 task force, they have been asked to contact the Aceh Provincial Government’s LO if they require anything, he said.
Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah has asked the province’s LO in Jakarta to meet the fishermen’s needs, he added.
The fishermen would be allowed to leave for Aceh and reunite with their families after finishing the quarantine period and taking swab tests whose results would need to confirm they are negative for COVID-19, he informed.
Before their repatriation, the fishermen had been detained in India for 11 months after their fishing boat KM BST 45 was intercepted by an Indian coast guard vessel while poaching in the waters about 55 miles off Nicobar Island on March 3, 2020.
An Indian court released them on January 16, 2021 thanks to the advocacy of the Indonesian Embassy in Delhi, Aceh Provincial government, and the Indonesian Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Kamal said.
“Thanks to this synergistic collaboration, our fishermen could immediately be freed. This cooperation needs to be well maintained,” he remarked.
ANTARA has reported on repeated arrests of several Acehnese fishermen for poaching in the waters of foreign countries.
Early in October, 2020, the Indonesian Traditional Fishermen Association (KNTI) confirmed that 51 Acehnese fishermen had returned to Indonesia after being granted a royal pardon from Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on his birthday on July 28, 2020.
The fishermen had received the pardon owing to efforts by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry through the Indonesian Consulate General in Songkla.
In early 2020, Thai authorities had detained 30 Acehnese fishermen and three children after they were caught poaching in Thailand’s waters.
Thereafter, in February, 2020, at least 21 fishermen and three children had again been caught poaching in the country’s waters.
The six children were repatriated to Indonesia on July 16, 2020.
Source: Antara News