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9 Aug 2020

Randy Mulyanto, South China Morning Post

On Taiwanese ships, Indonesian workers abused, illegal fishing reported: NGO

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7 August 2020

A London-based NGO has published accounts of human rights abuses suffered by Indonesian workers, as well as illegal fishing, aboard Taiwanese vessels [...].

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) [...] released a report based on interviews with 71 Indonesian crew members from 62 vessels [...].

Fishermen from 92 per cent of the vessels surveyed had their wages withheld for months, while on 82 per cent of the ships, crew reported excessive overtime during which they had to work "up to 20 hours per day with very little time to rest". Workers from 24 per cent of vessels experienced physical abuse.


In recent months, stories of death and abuse experienced by Indonesian fishermen working on China-flagged vessels have also emerged. According to activist group Destructive Fishing Watch Indonesia, 11 Indonesians died on Chinese ships from November 2019 to last month, while two other fishermen have gone missing.


The EJF presented its report to the authority [...] which the Fisheries Agency said it had launched investigations into illegal fishing and human rights abuse cases.


Taiwan's government should "implement electronic monitoring systems for Taiwanese fishing vessels including remote sensors, cameras and the ability for crew to communicate with the outside world to raise any concerns", the report said.

The EJF also asked Taipei to abolish the overseas recruitment system, and require all migrant workers on fishing vessels to be recruited through Taiwan under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Labour.
"Due to the global nature of Taiwan's fleet, this will require cross-governmental and international cooperation," it said in the report.