A statement from the ministry said on Thursday, December 31 that the six sailors had returned home aboard a vessel called Hai Ji Li and arrived in Batam, Riau Island on Wednesday, December 30.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry has established intensive communication with the Chinese government through the diplomatic missions of both countries in Jakarta, Beijing, and Guangzhou to directly repatriate the crewmen to Indonesia by sea,” the statement said.
This marked the second time crew members have been repatriated to Indonesia this year following the good coordination between officials of both countries.
“Previously, 157 Indonesian crew members had been repatriated through Bitung Port, North Sulawesi in November 2020,” the statement said.
“The cooperation [between both countries] also includes the protection of the rights of workers and ensuring the implementation of laws and regulations [in the field of manpower] through mutual legal assistance,” it added.
The six Indonesian crew members who had been repatriated to Indonesia were detained on the ships for months and were unable to return to Indonesia due to the current pandemic.
The ministry said that they were stranded for months on waters because many countries had banned the entry of foreigners following border closings and travel restrictions.
“Many countries have closed their seaports and do not allow the process of changing crew and reducing foreign crew members,” the statement said.