At least 10 Vietnamese crew members have gone missing from Taiwanese fishing boats since last year
At least 10 Vietnamese men have fallen off Taiwanese fishing boats since early last year but rescuers have only recovered one body, according to the Overseas Labor Management Department.
The latest case happened on October 8 when three Vietnamese men onboard a Taiwanese fishing boat were believed to have been flung into the Sea of Japan, the department vice director, Tong Hoai Nam, said.
The causes of these incidents remained unclear, he said.
Nam assumed that the latest case was an accident and not because the involved men deliberately jumped off the vessel to swim to Japan.
The three victims were among 21 Vietnamese fishermen who had been working for three to five years on the boat, he said.
However, he admitted that there have been allegations that some Vietnamese men jumped off the boats to swim to Japan for migration reason.
“Other fishermen onboard said the missing men had planned to jump off when the boats were near Japan’s coast,” he said.
“Many Vietnamese fishermen can swim very well and up to 10 kilometers. They jumped off in the dark and swam to the shore to avoid Japanese coastguards.”
According to Nam’s agency, thousands of Vietnamese men are working on foreign fishing boats in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, including 2,000 working on off-shore boats and 1,200 others fishing in inshore waters.
They are paid between US$450 and $1,000 a month.