Vietnam to repatriate sailors stranded in Malaysian waters soon

According to Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang, the ministry has requested the Vietnam Maritime Administration to make every effort to soon bring home 12 Vietnamese sailors who have been stranded in Malaysian waters for about four months.
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vietnam to repatriate sailors stranded in malaysian waters soon
Twelve Vietnamese sailors have been stranded in Malaysian waters since March. Photo: NUSPM

Citing Hang at the regular press conference in Hanoi on July 16, VNA reported that, from the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the ministry has learned that the seafarers started working aboard vessel Viettin 01 around mid-March with an aim to sail the ship, docked at Malaysia’s Zoho strait, back to Vietnam.

Due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have received no salary and others to cover their expenses from the ship’s owner – Thuan Thien Co., Ltd – since May 26, she said, adding that though they have repeatedly asked for pay from the company, their request has remained unsettled.

After getting the information, the Foreign Ministry has tasked the Embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia to contact the seafarers to learn about the case and take citizen protection measures if needed.

It urged the Vietnam Maritime Administration to demand Thuan Thien Co., Ltd to immediately fulfill their responsibilities as outlined in contracts signed with the sailors, regarding salaries and living expenses, and meet requirements by the Malaysian side to soon bring the vessel back to Vietnam.

The ministry and its representative agencies in Malaysia will discuss with the host country on necessary procedures to repatriate the sailors, she added.

vietnam to repatriate sailors stranded in malaysian waters soon
Vietnamese citizens in Australia wait to handle boarding procedures at Sydney Airport on July 13. Photo: VNA

Under the direction of the country’s leaders, in particular the Prime Minister, relevant agencies and Vietnam’s overseas representative bodies have worked closely with authorities in host countries to bring Vietnamese citizens home.

Vietnam has organised 55 flights bringing 13,323 citizens home from overseas since April 10 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hang said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Public Security, will continue working with the country’s overseas representative bodies to bring more citizens home on the basis of their aspirations, repatriation priorities, and domestic quarantine capacity, added spokeswoman.

Replying to a question about online ticket scams targeting citizens who wish to return to home, the Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman cited national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines as saying that it has warned passengers, especially overseas citizens, about such online ticket scams.

Since the pandemic broke out and the Vietnamese Government began conducting repatriation flights for its citizens in disadvantaged circumstances, the country’s overseas representative bodies and the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department have publicised information about related procedures on their websites and on the media.

Citizens who wish to return to home need to register with Vietnam’s representative bodies in the host country, and agencies will then work with domestic authorities and contact each person by email to inform them on ticket booking procedures, Hang noted.

She recommended that to protect their interests, overseas Vietnamese citizens need to follow the instructions issued by Vietnamese representative bodies and only buy tickets after receiving official emails from these agencies./.

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