Two Taiwanese fishermen who have not been heard from in six days were reportedly tossed overboard by the boat’s Indonesian crewmen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday, after the boat was seized by an Indonesian navy ship approximately 100km from a port in West Sumatra.
The Indonesian crew members and vessel are being transported to Jakarta for further investigation, MOFA Deputy Spokesman James Chang (章計平) said.
According to information sent back from the Taiwanese representative office in Jakarta, the crew members told the navy officers they had pushed the Taiwanese captain Hsu Chi-fa (?k) and skipper Cheng Yi-yao (鄭義耀) into the ocean.
Indonesian authorities are still trying to verify the story and find out what led to the alleged incident.
It was not clear if the men were tossed overboard while they were still alive.
Chin Man Cheng (金滿成), a Pingtung County-registered boat, set sail from southern Taiwan on Oct. 11 for a fishing expedition and was expected to return at the end of last month.
According to his family, the captain called on Dec. 29 to say their return date had been postponed. It was the last time the family heard from him.
The family notified MOFA last Thursday when they could not reach Hsu, and the ministry immediately contacted their office in Indonesia for help.
After a satellite search showed that the vessel was moving between Indonesian and Australian waters, Taiwan promptly requested help from both countries to intercept the boat, he said.
The boat was discovered on Monday afternoon by an Indonesia navy ship, Chang added.
Family members of the two men arrived in Jakarta yesterday afternoon. The ministry promised to assist the families in any way they can.