A member of Thai fishing boat crew detained in Indonesia, who refused to disclose his name, revealed dreadful working conditions. Transbordernews reporter interviews one of Thai crew who has been detained in a small jail in Benjina island, The Maluku Islands, western Indonesia. The interview was made by phone, with contacts given by Thai Channel 3 TV reporter, Thapanee Ietsrichai.
He expresses his concern that for Thai fishing boat crew on this island, he could be “killed ” anytime, especially for those who reveal the stories to the outsiders. Originated from Amphor Ban Lard, Petchaburi Province of Thailand, studied in mechanical field, after his high school. Then he worked as an assistant to engineer in a fishing boat with 30 crew members onboard. The company promised to pay him 9,000 baht salary, plus benefits from fish sales.
After leaving Mae Klong port, Samutsongkram on July 17, 2013, what he has faced is totally different from what he was told.
“The condition on my fishing boat and other boats I ‘ve seen is very dreadful. Some of us were taken and tricked. Some of us have never been on board. Their body could not bear the conditions on the sea. But they are forced to work day and night, rarely get to rest. Usually, it takes two months for the boats to fish offshore, then embark to deliver the fish for 5 days. The crew has only two days to rest.”
Asked why he did not leave as the situation was terrible, he said most of them would like to do so but they could not leave unless they receive permission by their masters, with a request from family or relatives. Unfortunately, most of them cannot contact their family and relatives in Thailand.
“It’s very stressful. Some of us decided to jump into the sea to commit suicide. Some were beaten up and went insane. Those who died were buried on the island. There is a guy in his early 50s, he died because his body cannot bear the terrible labour. The master told us to bury him without telling his family. We were not able to hold a religious ceremony for him,” he said.
“I intended to go back home next time the boat embark, but I was arrested, ” he told about his plan that has never been realized. Shortly after that, he was detained in a prison, with the charge that he did not want to disclose.
“Currently there are 49 Thai fishing boats seized by Indonesia authority, as the boats entered the territorial waters. There are 400-500 Thai crew members remain here. All of us would like to return home.”
This prison where his group has been detained is a private prison. They are sentenced by decision of the master of the fishing boats. This poor boat man form Petchburi has been detained for two months.
“I sent a petition to Thai consulate in Indonesia, but they didn’t contact me back. Perhaps my cell phone does not work well here. It’s sometimes out of order. ”
His urgent need now is that his group to be released from this private island prison immediately, as he sees the risk is approaching, especially after the news is aired.
“We received a warning from someone who doesn’t want the truth to be revealed. Last night some of us were threaten, therefore none of us want to talk about it. On this island, there is no government authorities to give us security. If the Thai government doesn’t send their officials to save us immediately, I’ m afraid that we will all be taken to other place, and forced to be disappeared.”
This report is translated from Thai-language report by Transbordernews on http://transbordernews.in.th/home/?p=7823