Saturday, September 18, 2021

Malaysia migrant boat death toll rises to 12, some 25 missing

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This handout from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency taken on January 23, 2017 shows rescuers carrying a body retrieved from a search operation near the area where a boat carrying Indonesian immigrants capsized in Mersing, in Malaysia’s southern Johor state. Ten people are confirmed dead and about 30 missing after a boat believed to be carrying Indonesian illegal immigrants capsized in rough seas off Malaysia, officials said on January 23.

Two more bodies washed ashore in Malaysia Tuesday after the sinking of a boat overloaded with illegal Indonesian immigrants, raising the death toll to 12 with about 25 still feared missing.

The bodies were found on Tanjung Leman beach near the southeastern town of Mersing, said Saiful Lizan Ibrahim, local head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

“Security forces found the two bodies — both men — believed to be Indonesians,” he said, adding that a sea search has been suspended due to bad weather.

The boat was believed to be carrying about 40 Indonesian illegal immigrants when it capsized in rough seas off Mersing.

Two passengers were rescued and taken to hospital.

The 27-foot (nine metre) boat, designed for only 15 people, was travelling from Indonesia’s Batam Island to Malaysia, Saiful said.

Some 45 officers were combing the shore in search of survivors.

Indonesian illegal migrants often make the perilous journey in small rickety boats to Malaysia in search of work, mainly in construction and agriculture.

Last November a speedboat believed to be carrying illegal Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia sank near Batam. More than 40 people were missing.

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