YANGON: After almost a week at sea, the Nautical Aliya finally pulled into the port in Yangon with aid for the Rohingya.
The ship, laden with some 2,300 tonnes of cargo for the Rohingya communities in Myanmar and Bangladesh, was met by a crowd of about 100 people – mostly local officials and journalists.
It docked at about 3pm local time yesterday.
However, the organiser’s plan to leave for Chittagong, Bangladesh, last night was delayed due to low tide. They now plan to leave by 10am today.
Among those who came to welcome the ship were Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and Malaysian Ambassador to Myanmar Mohd Haniff Abd Rahman. With them was Myanmar’s Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye.
A select group of 29 was allowed to get off the ship and meet local officials there.
Reezal said he welcomed the “magnanimity of the Myanmar government” for allowing the ship to dock at Yangon.
“Let us cherish this moment,” he said. “It can be admitted that the Rakhine State is a place that needs help and they (the Rohingya) are really in dire need.”
Thousands of Rohingya have fled alleged human rights abuses in Myanmar to neighbouring countries.
The Nautical Aliya dropped anchor on Wednesday but had to wait until yesterday for a pilot to steer the ship in. That took two-and-a-half hours.
As at 6.40pm local time, three containers of aid had been offloaded, with several more jumbo bags – totalling some 200 tonnes – waiting to be offloaded onto the port.
From here, the cargo will be joined by another 300 tonnes of rice already in Myanmar and transported by barge to Sittwe.
Organising committee co-chief Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said he was confident that the Malaysian ambassador would observe the distribution of aid to the Rohingya in Sittwe.
“The first phase of our mission is done,” said Abdul Azeez. “We will set sail for Chittagong where aid will be distributed for four days in Bangladesh.”
Did you find this article insightful?