JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia says it has seized a fishing boat carrying 20 crewmembers, including 14 Indonesians believed to be trafficking victims who were forced to work without pay.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the STS-50 was seized near Weh Island in Aceh province last Friday, a day after a tip from Interpol saying the vessel was heading to Indonesian waters.
Pudjiastuti said the vessel was carrying six Russians and 14 Indonesians. He said it had allegedly falsified its identity many times and used the flags of eight different countries to fish illegally in many countries.
Indonesian navy deputy chief Achmad Taufiqoerrochman said in a statement Monday there are strong indications that the Indonesians on board are victims of trafficking who were forced to work at sea for years without pay.