Taiwan fisheries agency issues report following horrifying death of Indonesian worker

Media reports last month revealed evidence of human rights abuses by Taiwan's offshore fishing fleets

The photo shows Indonesian fishing migrant worker Supriyanto before his death. (Image credit: Greenpeace) 

The photo shows Indonesian fishing migrant worker Supriyanto before his death. (Image credit: Greenpeace) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Following media reports of abuse and dire working conditions of migrant fishing workers, Taiwan's Fisheries Agency issued a report on Thursday, June 7, regarding a number of violations and disciplinary actions against non-compliant offshore fisheries operators.

The agency said that it is demanding corrective measures on non-compliant operators and those found involved in criminal cases will be made known to the public in the future.

A large-scale investigation has been conducted on 65 offshore fishing boats and 133 crew members since January, and the agency has successfully helped seven fishing migrant workers retrieve their passports which were illegally held by their employers as well as accrued wages amounting to US$8,340.

The photo shows offshore fishing vessels. (Image credit: Greenpeace)

According to a new rule about employing non-Taiwanese fishing workers that took effect from January 20, 2018, employers have to pay migrant fishing workers at least US$450 a month, with a minimum rest from work of 10 hours in every 24-hour period and 4 days in every month. Accident, life and medical insurance plans have to be covered and paid by employers with accidental death benefit no less than NT$1 million (US$0.33 million).

The fisheries official admitted that the investigation found that 30 percent of operators are not complying with the minimum pay and rest period rules.

(Image credit: Greenpeace)

Late last month, Greenpeace International and media reports revealed new evidence to accuse several of Taiwan's offshore fishing fleets of human rights abuses. In evidence provided by a local Taiwanese labor rights group, the Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union, shocking new photo and video material was uncovered relating to the death of Indonesian fishing migrant worker Supriyanto, who was hired to work on a Taiwanese offshore fishing boat.

Supriyanto, a healthy and relatively young man, died in agony just four months after starting work on the Taiwanese vessel, Fu Tsz Chiun. The harrowing images show Supriyanto had been beaten and abused, yet Taiwanese authorities failed to properly investigate his death and there was no prosecution, just an unconvincing conclusion, according to Greenpeace. Despite his deteriorating condition, satellite data revealed that Fu Tsz Chiun continued with its business operations, including in the days immediately following his death. Taiwan's Fisheries Agency claims Supriyanto simply died from sickness.

A fishing migrant worker secretly took this photo of ailing Supriyanto before his death. (Image credit: Greenpeace)