China argues Indonesian crew's sea burial meets ILO rules

China argues Indonesian crew's sea burial meets ILO rules

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi spoke on the issue of the sea burial of Indonesian crew members of Chinese-flagged vessels at a virtual press conference on Thursday (May 7, 2020). (ANTARA/screenshot)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Chinese Government and the operators of fishing ships Long Xing 629 and Tian Yu 8 have argued the sea burials of Indonesian seafarers who died during service were in keeping with the International Labour Organization's rules.

They have also said the crew members were buried at sea with the approval of their families.

"The ship's management informed the family (of one crew member identified by his initials as AR) and obtained an approval letter for (his) sea burial on March 30 (2020). The family also agreed to receive death compensation from the Tian Yu 8 ship management," Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said here on Thursday.

AR was part of the crew on Long Xing 629. He fell sick on March 26, 2020 and was transferred to Tian Yu 8, which was to carry him to a port for medical treatment, but he died on the morning of March 30, 2020.

He was buried at sea the next morning, on March 31, 2020, according to a statement from the ship's management.

Last year, two other Indonesian crew members on board Long Xing 629 had died while it was sailing in the Pacific Ocean. Their remains were buried at sea in December, 2019.

"The decision to bury the two crew was taken by the ship's captain on the consideration that the deaths were caused by communicable disease, and the decision was also agreed upon by other crew members," Marsudi said citing the statement from the ship's management.

The Indonesian Embassy in Beijing had sent diplomatic notes to the Chinese Government, seeking further clarification on the sea burials of the Indonesian crew members.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry has sent its response “saying that the burials at sea were carried out in accordance with international maritime practices to protect other crew members' health, as stipulated by ILO (International Labour Organization) rules," Marsudi stated.

She added that the ministry contacted the families of the two crew members and they have confirmed that they received compensation from the recruiting agency. However, the Indonesian Government would ensure that all crew members enjoy their rights, the minister remarked. (INE)

Related news: GP Ansor condemns China's burial at sea for Indonesian crew
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