Three Vietnamese working on a fishing boat were abducted four years ago by Somali pirates and their unfortunate families are still waiting for the government to help.
Nguyen Van Ha and Nguyen Van Xuan, 35, and Phan Xuan Phuong, 27, were among 26 crew members abducted in Taiwan in May 2012, news website VnExpress reported.
All three are from the impoverished Nghe An Province in central Vietnam. They went to Taiwan in 2011 after each paying around VND12 million (US$540) to state-owned automobile manufacturer Vinamotor, which also doubles as a labor company.
They went for a monthly salary of $300.
Nguyen Thi Thuy, Ha’s mother, said her son made a quick phone call home one day in 2012 saying pirates had captured his boat and demanded a ransom of $60,000 for each of them.
She said she then contacted the labor company seeking help, but it has done nothing so far, except for paying her VND5 million every year as a Lunar New Year gift.
“My son has not called home for three years; I don’t know if he’s still alive,” the 57-year-old was quoted as saying by VnExpress.
After her daughter was killed recently by robbers while working in Angola, Thuy said she has become even more anxious about her son.
“Many times I had wanted to tell the story to the media but the company said that may sabotage the negotiations with the pirates and threaten my son’s life. But I cannot be patient any longer.”
Nguyen Thi Quynh, Phuong's wife who lives 10 kilometers from Thuy, said she has heard nothing about or from her husband since 2013.
She has to rely on food donations from neighbors and loans to raise their three children and her old parents.
She has gone to Hanoi several times to seek support for her husband. Unable to afford hotels in the capital, she has had to sleep on the sidewalk several times.
Phan Xuan Linh, the father of Xuan, said his wife had a stroke and has been paralyzed since hearing the news.
“My family has gone to Hanoi many times to seek assistance from various agencies, but we have never got a response,” Linh told VnExpress.
Vinamotor officials said the company has reported the case to the labor and foreign ministries.
“The boat owner has paid a lot of money to the pirates and is still negotiating with the pirates to save the crew members,” the company said in a statement.
Nguyen Thi Lan Huong of its labor division said her company is hiring a Hong Kong law firm to negotiate with the pirates.
But the situation requires intervention from the government, she added.