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Thursday December 20, 2012

Rohingya stranded on vessel brought to Johor

JOHOR BARU: A total of 40 Rohingyha stranded on board a Vietnamese vessel for about a week in the waters off Johor have been brought to shore and are now being held at the Pekan Nenas immigration detention camp.

It is learnt that a vessel from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) rescued the victims, all men aged 20 to 40, from the Vietnamese ship MV Nosco Victory at 1.55pm on Tuesday.

The Rohingya were taken to the camp after the APMM vessel docked at the Stulang Jetty.

“They were given food and medical attention at the camp. The Myanmar Embassy has also been notified,” said a source from the Immigration Department.

It is learnt that the directive to allow the men to be brought to shore and held at the camp came from the National Security Council.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Coordinator for South-East Asia James Lynch said the decision by the Government was a positive humanitarian gesture and consistent with international norms for the protection of asylum-seekers and persons at risk at sea.

On Dec 5, the MV Nosco Victory rescued the 40, all believed to be Rohingya, from the Bay of Bengal where their overloaded boat with about 200 people had sunk.

The people were believed to have fled after the latest eruption of inter-communal violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

It is learnt that the vessel, which was heading to Singapore, was not permitted to enter the republic by its maritime and port authorities, prompting the vessel to be stationed in Malaysian waters since Dec 12.

UNHCR appealed to Singaporean authorities to allow the rescued passengers to disembark there, and later, appealed to Malaysia.

Lynch also commended the quick action of the captain and crew of the Nosco Victory.

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