Indonesian maritime police have arrested 41 Vietnamese nationals on a boat which was heading towards New Zealand with the intention of illegally landing its passengers there, the Jakarta Post has reported.
An Indonesian police officer shows the wooden boat used to transport the invaders.
The newspaper said that police had arrested the Vietnamese after “receiving information about a boat carrying migrants anchoring in Tablolong, Kupang regency, after running out of fuel.
Quoting Police maritime division head Sr. Comr. Budi Santoso, the report said that they “immediately brought those [41 migrants] to maritime police headquarters to record their details before handing them over to the Kupang Immigration Office for further investigation.”
Five children were among the 41 invaders aboard the vessel that had been sailing for four days after leaving from Java, according to Budi.
At the time of the incident, Budi added, the skipper, along with two crew members who are now at large, was “searching for fuel and food.”
It was the first case involving “undocumented Vietnamese migrants” this year, Budi said.
In 2015, a boat carrying 65 invaders from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, who were heading to New Zealand, stranded in Rote Ndao in Kupang.
In August, police arrested a Myanmar national in Jakarta for his involvement in a different case. The suspect had reportedly been involved in trafficking, as authorities found a boat carrying 16 Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi nationals without immigration documents stranded in Tablolong en route to the Australian territory of Christmas Island in November 2015.