Mahachai migrant workers still missing after fishing boat capsizes

Tue 17 Nov 2009, Ruby Mon
19 Burmese and Thai migrant workers are still missing at sea after the fishing boat they were working on capsized on November 2nd, off the coast of the Thai city of Mahachai. The families of the missing victims have received 30,000 baht [roughly 905 US dollars] each as compensation from the boat’s owner.

According to Nai Thein, the father of missing 34-year-old Mon fisherman Nai Win Myint, 24 migrant workers altogether were involved in the accident; the fishermen were of varied ethnicities, including Thai, Mon, Karen, Tavoy, and Burman. Only 5 of the original 24 workers were rescued from the ocean: 2 Thai fisherman, 2 Burmans, and one Mon fisherman.

At 2 am on November 2nd the fishing boat, known as the Chawsanlarn No.1, departed from the Mahachai fishermen’s station locally known as Palarsaphan, and sailed out into the Indonesian Sea. According to Nai Thein, who spoke to the 5 survivors, the boat capsized when a net, over-weighted with fish, pulled boat to its side. The boat’s decks became covered with water, and the vessel became completely submerged 2 hours later, casting the 24 fishermen out to sea. “According to the boat’s owner, they tried to find the missing people as much as they could. He is sorry to have lost his boat, and he also pities the families of the missing people, so he paid 30,000 baht to each family for the funerals,” Nai Thein informed IMNA.

“It is impossible to open this case in court because he also lost his property. He hires workers and they agree to work on his boats to get money from him, so people died,” said Nai Thein.

Nai Thein and his wife lost their son Nai Win Myint, and their son’s 40 year-old uncle Nai Harn Win, in the fishing accident. The couple informed IMNA that they made offerings on November 9th of this year at a Mahachai monastery for their missing loved ones. The family is originally from Hninkaren village in Ye Township, Mon State. Nai Thein informed IMNA that he too worked as a fisherman in Mahachi until sustaining a hand injury two months ago; without the income brought in by his son and his brother, the family’s future looks bleak.

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