Stranded Thai fishermen to be flown home from Africa

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The Foreign Ministry says a flight has been booked for this week to bring home a Thai fishing crew abandoned on a vessel in the sea off Somalia, on the Horn of Africa.

Busadee Santipitaks, spokesperson of the ministry, said Somali authorities responded positively to the request for help from the Thai embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

Authorities in the Somali state of Puntland approved the departure of the Thai crewmen and were facilitating their return to Thailand.

A flight had been booked and they should arrive back in Thailand this week, Ms Busadee said.

The plight of the 50 fishing crew members made headlines after one of them made a video call recently to a friend working in Phuket to tell about their fate.

He said they were not paid and were abandoned aboard a fishing boat, Wadani 1, off the Bosaso coast of Somalia, and were running out of food and drinking water.

The Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre said onWenesday the Wadani 1 had already docked in Bosaso. The vessel had been sold to an Iranian operator in 2015 and the Marine Department excluded it from its list of Thai boats.

It was catching fish in the Somali waters, and its catch was sent to Thailand for processing, the centre said.

The crew were receiving food and water and the Foreign Ministry was handling their return. Seventeen fishing crew members wanted to return to Thailand and they should arrive late this week, the centre said.

Bangkok Post

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