Taiwan helps repatriate 105 Indonesian sailors

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) helped 105 Indonesian sailors stuck on ships near Taiwan get a flight home on Friday (Aug. 20).

The Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) in Taipei told MOFA in March there were numerous Indonesian sailors on board foreign ships near Taiwan whose contracts had come to an end, CNA reported. However, because the ship owners and countries were unable to help, the sailors were stuck on board the vessels and could not return to Indonesia.

IETO understood that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan only allowed ship crews with direct links to the country to come ashore. However, because of humanitarian concerns MOFA decided to set up a program to allow the sailors to return home to Indonesia.

A total of 105 sailors and 16 Indonesians residing in Taiwan boarded a flight chartered by the Indonesian government at Kaohsiung’s Xiaogang Airport at 11 p.m. Friday, MOFA said. The Southeast Asian country’s representative in Taiwan, Budi Santoso, visited the airport to see the sailors off.

Taiwan and Indonesia have agreed to launch a dialogue about improving the rights of sailors and fishermen, CNA reported. MOFA said the island nation’s concern for human rights and humanitarian principles played a key part in its determination to help the sailors and to safeguard the basic rights of people on ships of any nationality in the waters around Taiwan.

Groups, businesses in Taiwan donate oxygen devices to Indonesia

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Over 100 Taiwan nationals repatriated from Indonesia

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Representatives from Taiwan’s Indonesia office and Taiwan expat organizations at Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. Representatives from Taiwan’s Indonesia office and Taiwan expat organizations at Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Approximately 120 Taiwanese expats who had been stranded in Indonesia due to the severe COVID situation in the Southeast Asian nation arrived in Taiwan Sunday night (Aug. 8).

The flight, operated by Garuda Indonesia, departed from Jakarta’s Soekarno–Hatta International Airport at 4:20 p.m. local time and landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:55 p.m., CNA reported. The passengers were taken to a central quarantine facility in accordance with Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) regulations.

Because of the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Indonesia, the CECC listed it as a high-risk country at the end of June. As a result, Taiwanese airlines canceled all late-August flights to and from Jakarta.

Additionally, Singapore and a number of other countries banned transiting passengers from Indonesia, making it difficult for Taiwanese in that nation to return home.

Indonesia Taiwan Chambers of Commerce (ITCC) President Wang An-zuo (王安左), former ITCC president Ke Sheng-sheng (柯勝升), and Taiwan-Indonesia Tourism Development Exchange Association Chairman Chang Chih-chia (張志嘉) had originally signed a deal with Batik Air to repatriate Taiwanese nationals, but the airline suddenly announced it could not provide a flight, per CNA. Therefore, they organized a flight with Garuda Indonesia.

As the airline had halted its route between Jakarta and Taipei in 2014, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, and Civil Aeronautics Administration quickly coordinated with each other as well as their Indonesian counterparts to ensure the flight would happen.