Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi speaking at the virtual press briefing on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Indonesia Condemns Chinese Company’s 'Inhumane Treatment' Against Its Fishermen

BY :NUR YASMIN

MAY 10, 2020

Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated on Sunday that the treatment done by the Chinese fishing company towards around 50 Indonesian crews violates human rights.

"We condemn the inhumane treatment experienced by our ship crews during working at the Chinese vessel company. Based on the information from the crews, they violate human rights," Retno told the press on Sunday.

Almost all the crews have repatriated to Indonesia and told the ministry their experience during working on at least four Chinese longline fishing vessels - Long Xin 629, Long Xin 605, Tian Yu 8, and Long Xin 606.

"Some of them have not been paid at all, and some others did not receive the sum as agreed on their contract," the minister said.

On May 5, an unnamed Indonesian crew told a South Korean media that they were underpaid, receiving less than $300 for a full year's work as opposed to $300 per month according to the contract.

The Chinese employer allegedly paid some of the fishermen only $120 after 13 months of long-hour work on the ships.

"The working hour is also inhumane. They need to work averagely over 18 hours a day," Retno said.

The crews, who are mostly teenagers, were forced to restlessly work for 30 hours, with breaks only every six hours to eat and nap. 

The Chinese government gives special attention to the case and is currently investigating the fishing company, Retno said.

"Indonesia will maximize law enforcement cooperation with the Chinese authorities to handle this case. The company has to fulfill our crews' rights," Retno stressed.

On May 5, Indonesian fishermen told South Korean TV station MBC about the unfair treatment they received during working on Chinese fishing vessels along with a video of a burial-at-sea on the Long Xin 629.

The video shows the dead body of a 24-year-old Indonesian crew AR being thrown overboard. The crew have been sick for over a month and received no medical care. 

Two other Indonesian seamen 19-year-old AL and  24-year-old S also died at sea due to illness and were cast overboard into the Pacific Ocean. 

According to the contract, the ship captain should cremate the crews' bodies at the nearest docking location, and send the ashes back to the crews' family.

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