A second case of mistreatment of Indonesian seamen was brought to conclusion in June when New Zealand police returned 11 Indonesian sailors who allege that they were abused while working on the Korean fishing vessel SHIN JI, according to a report from the New Zealand Sailors Society, a nonprofit organization.
Police found the men sleeping on the streets in early June after they left the ship, protesting their poor treatment. They spent a night in the Auckland Central Police Station before police and union officials discovered they were Indonesian citizens and members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.
While meeting with immigration officials, fishing company representatives and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) inspector Grahame McLaren, the men said they were mistreated and bullied by the ship’s Korean officers, who had not paid them in four months and limited them to salt water showers once per week with no hot water.
McLaren visited the vessel to investigate their complaints and though the ship was well provisioned, he noted its poorly maintained condition and fishing gear that blocked access to lifeboats.
When the Indonesian sailors refused to return to the vessel, McLaren negotiated with Tu’ere Fishing Ltd., the company chartering the Korean vessel, who agreed to pay the crewmen just over $50,000 in back wages and arrange their return to Indonesia. The men flew from Auckland to Jakarta a few days later, where they were met by a representative from the ITF to ensure their safe return.