After a month of ordeal, crew of 7 Indonesian and Burmese seafarers could land ashore as Phuket authorities kept them in the mandatory 14 day Quarantine which didn’t let them dock.
The seafarers docked at the Phuket Deep Sea Port after spending a month onboard a ship. The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command gave them permission to come ashore on February 4. The seamen were welcomed by the navy officers themselves.
Seafarers Received by Naval Officers
At 9am Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat received them along with the Consul of the Republic of Indonesia and the Myanmar Embassy representative.Officers of the Phuket Customs Office and Immigration department were also present.
The seafarers were released from MV Express 6, a Mongolian flagged vessel. They were taken to quarantine at the Metadee Resort and Villas in Karon.
Ship Considered Suspicious
The Naval Base got the information of the arrival of the vessel earlier in January. The vessel entered Thailand without permission. The ship finally landed on Phuket Deep Sea Port on 9th January. It was docked at Ao Makham which is on the east coast of Phuket.
“The ship was considered suspicious and may have had contraband on board, so I ordered officers to examine the ship,” said Cherngchai.
“Officers found that there were 18 people on the ship – one Thai captain, six Thai crewmen, seven Indonesians, four Chinese and one Myanmar national,” he added
“Initially, they were to face the charge of entering the Kingdom without permission and faced possible customs offenses,” revealed Cherngchai but upon questioning the crew they came to know about the real scenario.
Crew Wanted To Return Home
Apparently, the crew felt unsafe on the ship as they were serving for a long time and the ship was headed to Somalia next. The crew wants to return to home as their contract period is over. The captain asked the naval base to contact the respective embassies.
“On Jan 11, we contacted the Phuket office of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and Phuket Immigration to check their criminal history. They have never been involved in any human trafficking, so we contacted their embassies,” V/Adm Chernchai said.
When the embassies got to know of it they contacted their respective foreign ministry and got permission for the crew to quarantine in Phuket for 14days before sending them back home.
The ship is on the way to Guangzhou China after letting off the crew.