Jakarta The captain of a fishing vessel, KM Jaya Utama, has been accused of leaving seven crew members stranded at the Merauke fishing port in Papua province, according to Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia.
“The KM (motor vessel) Jaya Utama’s captain forced them to disembark the ship. As a result, they got stranded at the Merauke fishing port,” the DFW’s national coordinator, Moh.Abdi Suhufan, said in a statement that ANTARA received here on Tuesday.
The seafarers may have been trapped into forced labor in poor working conditions, he stated adding, they have also reported a shortage of food while working on board the fishing vessel.
DFW Indonesia has received a report from the seafarers, who have said they were recruited by the fishing vessel’s captain in Pekalongan, Central Java province.
The sailors, who hail from Jakarta and towns in Central Java, said KM Jaya Utama departed from Surabaya, East Java, for poaching in the Dobo waters off Aru Islands district in Maluku province.
From Dobo waters, the fishing vessel headed to the port city of Sorong in West Papua province, Suhufan said, adding that the seafarers may have been victims of deceptive recruitment based on an advertisement placed on social media platforms.
The seafarers told DFW that they owed debt to the captain. Therefore, they alleged, he forced them to work hard during their stay on board the fishing boat, Suhufan informed.
Considering the case, he urged the Indonesian government to keep improving the implementation of good governance rules in the country’s fisheries sector, especially the ones related to decent work and protection of seamen aboard fishing vessels.
Last year, the Indonesian public was left shocked by news of two Chinese fishing vessels burying the bodies of three Indonesian sailors at sea following their deaths in December, 2019 and March, 2020.
The Indonesian seafarers had died aboard Long Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 while the fishing boats were sailing in the Pacific Ocean.
Indonesian migrant workers in the maritime and fisheries sectors remain vulnerable to modern slavery practices. The Global Slavery Index, issued by Walk Free (2014-2016), an initiative MigrantCARE was part of, also reveals this fact.
According to the Global Slavery Index (2014-2016), several hundred thousand Indonesian crew working on board fishing vessels are trapped in modern slavery.
Source: Antara News