Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - A number of Sri Lankan immigrants who arrived aboard the MV Alicia in Tanjungpinang waters last July 10 have fallen sick, a local government official said.

"Of the total of 87 illegal immigrants, seven are now being treated at the Tanjungpinang General Hospital," I Gede Widiartha, the head of the Riau Islands Provincial law and human rights office, said here on Friday.

One immigrant was suffering from diabetes, two had undergone hernia surgery, two others teeth surgery, and another surgery to take out metal fragments from head, hand, body and thigh.

The wife of Makesu Silvakumaran, leader of the Sri Lankan immigrants, delivered a baby at the Tanjungpinang hospital.

According to Gede, the immigrants had refused to leave their ship because they were determined to continue their journey to New Zealand.

Masni Eriza of the foreign ministry`s human rights and humanity affairs, said the immigrants were free to get medical services and the costs were borne by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Indonesian authorities have persuaded them to leave their ship so they could get better health services and accommodation.

"We hope they will realize and are willing to leave the ship because living aboard the ship is unhealthy due to so many limitations," she said.

However, the Indonesian government does not want to rush or ask them to leave the boat by force, according to her.

The 87 illegal Sri Lankan immigrants comprising 76 men, six women, and five children were nabbed by the Indonesian water police in Galang Baru waters, Batam, on July 10, 2011, on their way to New Zealand or Canada.

According to the Riau Islands water police, 23 Sri Lankans had left Jakarta after buying MV Alicia for Rp1.92 billion through someone identified as Pinky Gozaly.

On June 13, 2011 they left for Batam and stopped in Nongsa waters, Senior Commissioner Yassin Kosasih said.

Makesu Selvakumaran, captain and leader of the immigrants, picked up 64 others in Johor Baru, Malaysia, by a speed boat on June 27, 2011, before they proceeded to New Zealand or Canada.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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