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Burmese marine workers stranded in India return home


Rangoon (Mizzima) – A total of 142 Burmese marine workers who were adrift at sea and then stranded in India will return home in two batches this week.

Burmese fishermen who were adrift at sea after a storm and rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy in March attend a press conference at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation in Rangoon in June 2011. Only 130 out of an estimated 600 missing fishermen were rescued. Another  batch of fishermen stranded in India are returning to Burma this week. Photo: Mizzima 
The marine workers were adrift on their tiger-shaped rafts after a sudden storm at sea near Phyapon Township in Irrawaddy Region in March. After rescue, they were stranded in India.
 
“Some workers died. Some are still missing. Some were stranded in India and some in Sri Lanka. The 14 marine workers who were stranded in Sri Lanka returned to Burma in June,” Win Kyaing, the general secretary of Myanmar Fisheries Federation [MFF], told Mizzima.
 
The second batch of 72 workers will arrive in Burma on Friday evening. The first batch returned on Thursday.
 
The marine workers are from Irrawaddy, Rangoon, Bago, Magway and Tanintharyi regions. They were detained in Port Blair on Andaman Island.

During their early detention, confrontations occurred between the workers and Indian police, but differences were resolved, according to the workers who returned on Thursday.

“I am 56 years old. Fishing has been our traditional business, but I never experienced anything like this. We were starved, and we encountered many problems. Now, I’m very happy because I will be able to meet with my family soon,” the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar quoted one worker as saying.

The MFF released a statement saying workers will take refuge at Sadu Monastery in Kyimyintaing Township in Rangoon and a press conference will be held on Monday.

In a similar incident, three marine workers from Phyapon Township who were stranded in India for more than 11 years ago arrived back in Burma in August.
Last Updated ( Friday, 25 November 2011 18:40 )  

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