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Article

7 Jul 2020

Author:
The Guardian (UK)

Indonesian crew accuse Chinese fishing company of forced labour, human trafficking and maltreatment onboard tuna fishing vessel

“‘Hold on brother’: final days of doomed crew on Chinese shark finning boat”, 7 July 2020

When Sepri and Ari boarded a Chinese tuna fishing vessel in February 2019, the 24-year-old best friends were excited at the prospect of working together and having adventures at sea…

… Both men died at sea after weeks of agony: working 18-hour days without adequate food or water and under the threat of violence, according to survivors who gave harrowing accounts of the deaths to the Guardian – including their bodies being thrown overboard.

In all, 24 Indonesian crew set off on the Long Xing 629, owned by Dalian Ocean Fishing Company, which was reportedly engaged in illegal fishing. Only 20 survived. The ones who made it said they were “treated like animals”, and lawyers for the crew described the case as a “textbook example” of forced labour and human trafficking at sea. Interpol have long warned of a link between illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and human rights abuses, including modern slavery…

The Chinese foreign ministry told the South Morning China Post and the Indonesian foreign ministry that it was investigating the matter, but that some of the allegations were “inconsistent” with its own information.

Dalian Ocean Fishing Company did not respond to a request for comment.

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