A ship carrying hundreds of Rohingya Muslims has sent out a distress call asking to be rescued, saying they were abandoned by their captain without fuel and have been without food or water for three days.

Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, which has been monitoring the movement of fleeing Rohingya for more than a decade, says she spoke by phone with one of the migrants on board the Thai vessel Tuesday.

She says there are about 350 people on board, most from Myanmar's troubled state of Rakhine. She says they can see the shore but are not exactly sure where they are.

She said they may be near Langkawi, a Malaysian resort island that has been the offloading point for 1,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis in recent days.