"A total of 1,451 cases were recorded in 2020, and those are cases only of fishing ships and exclude cases related to merchant vessels or cruise ships," the ministry's Director General for Protocol and Consular Affairs, Andy Rachmianto, stated during a webinar on protection of Indonesian ship crews here on Thursday.
The figure has climbed, from 1,095 cases in 2019 and 1,079 cases in 2018 due to the impact of COVID-19 on the fishery sector, among others, according to Rachmianto.
During the pandemic, he noted that operators of fishing vessels in several nations had failed to meet their obligations, including to pay salaries and meet the basic requirements of ship crew members.
Rachmianto noted that of the total 1,451 cases, 1,211 pertained to issues on the repatriation of ship crew members, followed by 465 cases of salary issue, 156 cases of abuse, 70 cases of deaths, 26 cases of trafficking in persons, and 104 cases involving others.
The ministry has identified at least four key issues that necessitate the government’s serious attention to increase protection for Indonesian crew members aboard foreign ships, he stated.
The first main issue pertains to management on the placement and protection of crew on foreign ships under the existing legal umbrella, while the second area of concern is valid data for better protection and monitoring.
The third issue is standardization of the ship crew working contract, while the fourth concerns the issue of diplomacy.
"The foreign minister has reiterated the government's commitment to protecting Indonesia's ship crew members, among others, with the designation of a national road map toward ratification of the ILO Convention C188 agreement with destination countries for which we are now working on cooperation with China and the law enforcement apparatuses," he stated.
Chairman of the Advisory Council of the task force for the eradication of illegal migrant worker placement Comm. Gen Pol (ret.) Suhardi Alius noted that law enforcement on Indonesian ship crew members is important to have a deterrent effect.
"We have several regulations, and it is important to implement them," Alius stated. Related news: A closer look at government's efforts to protect Indonesian seafarers
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