Missing migrant boat found as Malaysia, Indonesia offer shelter

Indonesian fishermen have rescued some migrants that were found drifting off the coast of Thailand last week.

Malaysia and Indonesia have said they will offer migrants stranded in the Pacific temporary shelter, even though Malaysia’s Foreign Minister AnifahAman said they would not actively search for migrants, but only provide shelter if they came ashore – and under the condition that the international community would help to repatriate or resettle them within a year.

Foreign ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand held emergency talks in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur to decide on a common strategy to tackle the migrant crisis.

The migrant vessel which arrived off Indonesia, was first spotted last Thursday.

The migrants on the boat told the BBC’s correspondent, Jonathan Head at the time that they had been abandoned by people smugglers and were so desperate they were drinking their own urine due to lack of water. They also said 10 people on board had already died.

The Thai navy gave them food and water and later fixed the boat’s damaged engine but towed them back to sea. Contact was then lost with the boat till now.

The migrants say they were towed out to sea three times by the Thai and Malaysian navies and described how the Malaysian authorities escorted them virtually the whole way to Indonesia warning them never to return.

Thailand has also said it would continue to provide humanitarian assistance, but would not establish any shelter for the migrants.

Until the statements on Friday the navies of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia had prevented many of the migrant boats from coming into their country, only accepting those that had already come ashore.

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