Jakarta (ANTARA) -
Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)'s Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin expected that the government would thoroughly investigate the case of deaths of four Indonesian seafarers working for Chinese fishing vessels, of which three were buried at sea.

In a statement received in Jakarta on Sunday, Din said that in accordance with the mandate of the constitution to protect all the people of Indonesia, the government must investigate the case and file protests with those responsible for the recent deaths of the four Indonesian seafarers and the Chinese government which overshadows the ship where the crew was working.

Din described the burial of the three Indonesians at sea as an act against humanity. As a nation that adheres to the five principles of Pancasila on a fair and civilized principle, Indonesia should not leave it alone, he added.

"This is the time for us to show ourselves as a nation that holds fast to Pancasila, not in words but in real deeds," he said.

Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry will summon Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian for clarification on treatment received by several Indonesians working for Chinese fishing vessels that ended in three of them dying.

The ministry will also seek the Chinese ambassador's explanation on the burial at sea of the bodies of the deceased Indonesian crew of Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 fishing boats, the ministry earlier noted in its statement received by ANTARA here on Thursday.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry is keen to know whether the burial at sea of the deceased Indonesian workers had met the International Labour Organization (ILO) Seafarer's Service Regulations.

According to the ILO Seafarer's Service Regulations, a seafarer is buried at sea if "the death is caused by infectious disease and the deceased has been sterilized; and unable to keep the corpse for reasons of hygiene or the port of entry forbids vessels to keep cadavers, or other legitimate reasons".

In December 2019 and March 2020, three Indonesians working for Long Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 had died while the fishing boats were sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

The fishing vessels' skippers expounded that they chose to bury the bodies of Indonesian crew members at sea since they died of infectious disease, and other crew members too concurred on conducting their burials at sea, the ministry stated.

The Indonesian Embassy in Beijing has sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Foreign Ministry for a clarification on this case.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry explained that the burials at sea were conducted in line with the practice of international maritime rules for the sake of the health of other crew members.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and related government agencies had summoned the seafarers' recruitment agencies to ensure that all normative rights of those Indonesian seafarers had been met.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry had also informed the seafarers' families in Indonesia on their cases.

The Indonesian embassies in New Zealand, mainland China, and South Korea have been heedful of the problems faced by the Indonesian crew members of China's fishing boats Long Xin 605 dan Tian Yu 8 docked at Busan Port in South Korea several days ago.

Both Long Xin 605 and Tian Yu 8 had onboard 46 Indonesian crew members, of which 15 were from Long Xin 629.

The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul had coordinated with the South Korean authorities to repatriate 11 Indonesian crew members on April 24 and 14 others on May 8. The embassy is also attempting to send the coffin of a deceased Indonesian crew, identified as E.
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Translator: Prisca, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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