Fourth Indonesian sailor dumped from Chinese boat, report claims

Linda J. Dodson

JAKARTA — A fourth dead Indonesian crew member was dumped overboard by a Chinese fishing vessel, this time off the coast of Somalia, according to new allegations under investigation by Indonesia following reports this month of similar sea burials.

Three videos recently posted on Facebook show a severely injured sailor believed to be Indonesian, and what appears to be his body being bagged and dropped into the sea. The post accompanying the clips alleges that Indonesian crew members were forced to work under inhumane conditions.

Destructive Fishing Watch, an advocacy group that monitors abusive practices in the industry, said last weekend it concluded that the body of an Indonesian sailor was dumped from a Chinese ship near Somalia in January.

The organization alleges that the sailor was kicked and beaten with iron pipes, then forced to work despite needing medical attention, leading to his death.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry said Sunday that it contacted industry groups and the person who posted the clips to learn more about the incident. Indonesian ambassadors to China and Kenya, which borders Somalia, have been instructed to seek more information from local authorities.

Earlier this month, Jakarta pressed Beijing for an explanation of the sea burials of three Indonesian sailors in the Pacific Ocean between December and March. Lawyers for surviving crew members on the vessels allege the sailors were made to work extremely long hours while being underpaid, among other abuses.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said last week that Beijing was investigating reports involving the three sailors and was in communication with Indonesia over the matter.

Jakarta by Monday identified three suspects from Indonesian staffing agencies who are accused of human trafficking. If found guilty, they could face three to 15 years in prison.

Indonesia’s mission to the United Nations on May 8 urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to pay close attention to violations in the fisheries industry.

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