Following our previous report on the trafficking of Indian guest workers onto an ‘illegal’ vessel which sank in 2018, Sarawak Report has been notified of another shocking misadventure with common factors that took place just last month.
Details concerning a Kolkata seaman by the name of Rinku show that he too was licensed to work in Sarawak by the same company, Solid Maritime Sdn Bhd, and the same agent, Dudley Luhat Wan, and was assigned in January of this year to work on a cargo ship, the ill fated MV Tung Sung, registered in Marudi.
On July 30th that boat also upturned and sank in waters near Pulau Burung, Sebuyau with eight crew members registered as missing. Five bodies have been retrieved so far and astonishingly the boat has reportedly been re-floated and is back in use.
According to local press reports the missing seamen included three locals from Sibu, four individuals from Myanmar, and one from Indonesia, leaving the fate of the Indian worker who was earlier assigned to the ship undetermined.
It is a remarkable record of catastrophes affecting foreign workers through the same agency, particularly given that the family of the seamen lost in the earlier Zim Yin barge incident have complained their son was first tricked and then coerced into working on the vessel.
It was announced on 23rd August that a special police operation named Ops Dudley had rounded up an alleged human trafficking syndicate involving Indian nationals and masterminded by a man called Dudley. It was believed only to have been in operation post-Covid.
Sarawak Report suggests that, given the scale of the use of foreign workers in Sarawak is so extensive, this raid could be the tip of an iceberg of abuse.
Earlier scandals have included the discovery of North Korean slaves hired out by their state to work in coal mines connected to the Taib family.
Thousands of Indonesian workers have been reported trapped within oil palm plantations run by major companies where the exit points are guarded by armed security and passports removed. Numerous abuses of such workers have been detailed, including working in the hot sun during Ramadan without access to water all day.