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Monday 22 September 2014

Fishermen jump ship in Dingle after escaping from 'prison-like' trawler

Published 31/01/2013 | 05:00

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A GROUP of Indonesian fishermen have spoken of how they "escaped" from the ship on which they were working because the conditions onboard were unbearable.

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The six have been staying in Tralee, Co Kerry, since they jumped ship on Sunday afternoon when the trawler docked at Dingle.

They were working on board a Spanish trawler that left Jakarta on October 27 on its way to San Sebastian in Spain.

They are now being accommodated by Kerry County Council at a local hostel until their repatriation to Indonesia can be arranged.

They hope they will be reunited with their families back in Java, about six hours from the Indonesian capital, at the weekend.

The men were found in a dishevelled and distressed state wandering around Dingle by a member of the gardai on Sunday evening.

They were brought to Tralee garda station and given food before gardai contacted Kerry County Council asking them if they could arrange temporary accommodation.

The six men have paid tribute to the gardai and Irish officials for their assistance and kindness.

Spokesman for the group, Nur Handis (30), the only one with any English, said all had international fishing experience and had been given 12-month contracts on the British-registered trawler.

However, very soon into the voyage, they said the terms of their contracts were breached.

"It was like prison," Mr Handis told the Irish Independent. "When we were at sea we were to work 16 hours a day with eight hours rest but this was usually 20 or 22 hours."

He said when they docked in Dingle, where the trawler was taking shelter from the stormy conditions at sea, they saw their opportunity and escaped.

He said now, all they wanted was to go home and that none of the men were seeking refugee or asylum status.

Irish Independent

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