The Indonesian boat ‘KM Aleluya’ crew of eight that was rescued last week will be allowed to return back to home after the Ministry of Justice verified that the crew was in Palau waters because of mechanical failure and not illegal fishing.
Marine Law Enforcement Chief Emerson Nobuo described the eight individuals as in shock but physically alright when they were rescued by the US coast guard.
According to the Marine Law Enforcement report, the crew departed Indonesia on July 17 and proceeded to fish. A week later, on their voyage back to Indonesia, they encountered an engine problem and began to drift.
The crew soon ran out of food and water. The ship remained drifting until they were discovered by the US coast guard surveillance aircraft on the 14th of August.
Chief of Staff at Ministry of Justice Earnest Ongidobel said, “We got a call from the Indonesian honorary consul to follow up the process of repatriation.”
Ongidobel added that the crew had no passports as their purpose was to fish in the Indonesian waters but due to the engine failure the boat kept drifting and reached Palauan waters.
He further stated that their passports are being sent and once it arrives, the crew will be sent back to Indonesia.
However, Ongidobel said that the boat will remain in Palau as it will take a lot of time and resources to get it working again. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)