"We escorted the boat carrying the foreign nationals up to 15 miles to the west (of Meulaboh coast) to the Indian Ocean," Head of the Information and Communication Technology Section of the Meulaboh Immigration Office Adi Hari Pianto stated on Sunday.
The 14 Iranian nationals had been stranded since Jan 27 after their boat encountered an engine malfunction since they were in the Maldives waters. Once repairs were conducted on the boat, they continued their journey.
The 14 Iranian nationals are identified as Lal Muhammad, Annar, Al Abbas, Abdullah, Mohammad Rafiq, Abdul Nasir, Abdullah Fariziq, Jawi, Ismail, Muhammad Rafiq, Nathim, Adam, Syahaqi, and Amir Muhammad.
Before being dispatched to the high seas, the West Aceh district government, along with authorized agencies, had provided them logistics, including rice, clean water, and other basic necessities.
Pianto expressed hope that with the provision of logistics assistance, they would not encounter any shortage of food and drinking water during their journey.
Pianto confirmed that his side had coordinated with the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta to dispatch the Iranian nationals.
"According to the information we had received, the boat, carrying the 14 Iranian nationals, will dock in the Maldives waters where their countrymen have been waiting for them," he stated.
Pianto had earlier remarked that the local fishermen in West Aceh had located the 14 Iranian nationals, whose boat had got stranded in the Indian Ocean, near Meulaboh City, on Jan 28 when the oil pump broke down.
"The boat had stopped operating at the 04° 26' 616 N 064° 22' 488 E coordinates in the Maldives waters and was adrift in the Meulaboh waters in West Aceh District, at a distance of 15 miles from the nearest land," he stated.
The boat, found to have no permits, documents, or a flag, was tugged by a local motorboat to the Meulaboh Port situated at 04° 7' 39.306" N 96° 8' 15.2088 E, he added.
Related news: Boat sinks in Sorong waters, killing two people
Related news: Indonesia opposes "turn back boat" policy: Marty