LHOKSEUMAWE, INDONESIA (AP) – An Indonesian navy ship yesterday was towing a boat carrying 120 Rohingyas into port after it had drifted for days off the country’s northernmost province of Aceh, a navy official said.
The refugees’ wooden boat was reportedly leaking and had a damaged engine. Efforts to rescue its passengers, who are overwhelmingly women and children, began after Indonesia’s government on Wednesday said it would allow them to dock because conditions on the boat were so severe.
The broken-down boat was towed by a navy ship early yesterday from its location about 85 kilometres off the coast of Bireuen, a district in Aceh, toward Krueng Geukueh, a port in the neighbouring Lhokseumawe district, said navy western fleet command spokesman Colonel La Ode M Holib.
High waves and bad weather hampered the rescue operation and the navy ship was moving five knots per hour but was expected to dock later, Holib said.