They departed for Jakarta aboard a Garuda Indonesia aircraft this morning, and all of them are in good health.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Some 14 Indonesians, former crew members of the Chinese fishing ship Long Xing 629, were flown from South Korea to Indonesia aboard a Garuda Indonesia aircraft on Friday.

"They departed for Jakarta aboard a Garuda Indonesia aircraft this morning, and all of them are in good health," Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea Umar Hadi stated during a video recording sent to the media on Friday.

The Indonesian crew members are scheduled to arrive in Indonesia at 3:50 p.m. local time. They were flown to Indonesia after undergoing compulsory quarantine over the novel coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) at a hotel in Busan, South Korea.

During the video recording, the crew members held a telephonic conversation with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi prior to their departure to Incheon Airport.

The Indonesians, who formerly worked for a Chinese-flagged fishing ship, were keen to be repatriated to Indonesia after their three colleagues died aboard the ship and were buried at sea.

They also allegedly experienced human rights violations while working aboard the ship.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and legal authorities are investigating the case to ensure that their rights were fulfilled.

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The 14 crew members are part of the 46 Indonesian citizens, who earlier worked for four Chinese fishing ships. The government is leaving no stone unturned in protecting the Indonesian citizens.

Most of the 46 Indonesian crew members have returned to Indonesia, while two of them are in the Korean waters, pending settlement of the immigration process, before being flown to Indonesia. One of them died of pneumonia in Busan.

The Chinese government and the operators of fishing ships Long Xing 629 and Tian Yu 8 have maintained that the sea burials of Indonesian seafarers, who died during service, were in accordance with the International Labour Organization's rules.

They also aver that the crew members were buried at sea on 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 (this year). The family also agreed to receive death compensation from the Tian Yu 8 ship management," Minister Marsudi stated here on Thursday.

AR was part of the crew aboard Long Xing 629. He fell ill on March 26, 2020, and was transferred to Tian Yu 8 that would shift him to a port for medical treatment, though 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.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa Pramudyani/Suhar
Editor: Sri Haryati
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