Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Seized fishing vessel owners reach Rangoon

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An Indonesian and a Taiwanese, who are owners of recently seized fishing boats, arrived in Rangoon this week to negotiate with Burmese authorities.

Dhyasti Kalista, Third Secretary of Information and Social-Cultural section of the Indonesian Embassy in Rangoon told Mizzima on Wednesday that the Indonesian and Taiwanese owners reached Rangoon on Monday and would handle the case of the 128 crew members of the fishing vessels, currently detained in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison.

“The owners of the vessels are in Myanmar [Burma]. They said they will take care of the fishermen,” said Kalista.

The Burmese Navy on November 15 seized 10 fishing vessels, carrying a total of 128 crew members, from the Andaman Sea, near Coco Island.

The crew – 104 Indonesians, 19 Filipinos, four Taiwanese and a Chinese – were later sent to Rangoon’s Insein Prison.

“They are in detention in Insein prison. We are still negotiating with the prison department,” Kalista said.

Kalista said there are five more Indonesian fishermen being detained in jail in Myeik in Tenasserim division in southern Burma. They were arrested by the Burmese Navy near Myeik Island last month. 

Kalista said she believes the fishermen are still languishing in prison without being charged or tried, as the Indonesian Embassy in Rangoon, so far has received no such information.

An official of the Asia-Pacific Affairs Department of the Taiwan Foreign Ministry said Taiwanese authorities from the Taipei Consulate office in Thailand are trying to negotiate with the Burmese regime over the four Taiwanese fishermen, who are currently in Insein Prison.

“They are still detained. We are trying to contact the [Burmese] authorities,” the official told Mizzima on Wednesday. 

The Chinese and Philippines Embassies in Rangoon, however, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Earlier, Qin Gang, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a Press conference that China had requested Burmese authorities to handle the case properly in accordance with the law and to ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the detained fishermen from mainland China and Taiwan.

A statement released by the Philippines Foreign Ministry in late November said the Philippines Embassy in Rangoon held discussions with Burmese authorities for the immediate repatriation of the detained Filipino fishermen.


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