Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Two of the three Indonesian fishermen rescued by Australia after their boat sank in Pulau Pasir waters, Timor Sea, will return to Indonesia this week, an official of the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin, Australia, stated.

"The most probable time that the two fishermen will return to Indonesia will be this week, as their conditions have improved, and they have recovered already," coordinator of consular affairs at the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin, Australia, Yulius Mada Kaka, informed ANTARA here on Wednesday.

The two fishermen, Melki Giri and Habel Kanuk, have spent more time for their recovery at the Royal Darwin Hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 during their treatment there, he remarked.

He noted that fishermen -- Giri and Kanuk -- as well as another fisherman Riki Balu, who originated from Rote Ndao District, East Nusa Tenggara, were rescued after their boat got wrecked at sea.

Another nine fishermen aboard the ill-fated ship are still missing and yet to be accounted for, the consulate official stated.

Balu, who is currently being treated at the Royal Perth Hospital in West Australia, has regained his consciousness and is recovering at the hospital, he noted.

Kaka remarked that despite the three fishermen having recovered, Giri and Kanuk are more likely to return earlier than Balu.

He confirmed that consulate officials had conducted online meetings with officials from the Australian immigration, marine and fisheries, and relevant agencies to arrange for the fishermen's repatriation to Indonesia.

The officials agreed that as direct flights between Indonesia and Australia are yet to resume, the fishermen would be repatriated through transit flights to Singapore before arriving in Jakarta.

"While in Jakarta, the fishermen, who are rescued to Darwin, Australia, will undergo self-isolation because they have only received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose," Kaka remarked.

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Translator: Kornelis Kaha, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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