Friday, January 09, 2009
A wooden boat with nearly 200 people on board has been found drifting off the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island. The boat, with 174 people from Burma and 19 from Bangladesh on board, was found at sea by fishermen off Sabang island in Aceh province, local navy commander Yanuar Handwiyono said. Those on board the boat were weak after being adrift for around one week, Handwiyono said."Some 79 passengers are being treated in two separate hospitals in Sabang town for dehydration,'' he said. All of those on the boat were men and none of them spoke Indonesian or English. The passengers were believed to be en route to Malaysia "to seek a better life'', Aceh police spokesman Farid Ahmad said. Police had referred the boat passengers' case to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and local immigration authorities, he said.