The Release of 7 crew members of the ship KM Berkat Selayar

On 23 January 2018, Indonesian-flagged vessels from Bima, KM Berkat Selayar with a capacity of 84 GT and 9 (nine) of its crew members have been apprehended by Timor-Leste law enforcement officers for smuggling 9 (nine) containers filled with basic drugs material type PCC.

The ship is manned by 9 (nine) Indonesian Citizens, consisting of the Captain Hamzah, Muhammad Anwar Kamal (prime suspect), and 7 (seven) ship crew members namely Usman, Andi Rahman, Oki Sang Saputra, Sudarmanto, Idris, Suprianto and Ruslan.

Order of ship detention of KM Berkat Selayar along with all evidences, the 9 (nine) containers filled with basic drug substances PCC type, and the Indonesian Citizens (9 people) was officially issued on (5/2/2018). Hamzah was officially detained in Becora Prison and the 7 (seven) crew members as witnesses and outside prisoner, while Muhammad Anwar Kamal the main suspect have escaped Timor-Leste.

Concerned with the condition of 7 (seven) crew members whom basic needs were not fulfilled, and without legal assistance, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Timor-Leste, Mr. Sahat Sitorus took quick steps to provide protection and legal assistance for the 7 (seven) crew members. The crews are categorized as migrant workers and entitled as eligible beneficiaries to receive protection and assistance from the Government of Indonesia through its Diplomatic Representative in Timor-Leste.

The results of investigation by the Timor-Leste legal enforcement, the 7 (seven) ship crew members were designated as witnesses and not suspects nor constituted as defendants. Referring to this, the Indonesian Embassy in Dili began collecting official information as well providing legal assistance to 7 (seven) ship crew members by appointing an attorney at law from the International Law Firm - CRA Timor, represented by Duarte S. Carneiro, to forward a defense for the ship crews member at the Dili District Court.

7 (seven) crew members are traditional fishermen who do not have knowledge and insight about their rights and obligations as ship crews, beheld no official documents (Passport) nor receiving a decent wage.

On 15 May 2018, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Dili through the attorney of 7 (seven) crews, Duarte S. Carneiro (CRA Timor Law Firm) sent a request for the release of 7 (seven) ship crew members to RDTL Prosecutor’s Office. The petition contains facts and considerations that the crew are mere traditional fishermen.

On 6-7 / 7/2018, subsequent to the 7 (seven) crews official court’s hearing as witnesses (memoria futura), then on 9/7/2018, the 7 (seven) crews were officially released by the RDTL Prosecutor’s Office and delivered to the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to be repatriated to Indonesia (Bima).

                The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to RDTL, Mr. Sahat Sitorus on 25/7/2018 met with 7 (seven) crew members to officiate their repatriation as Indonesian Nationals whom will return to their homeland – Bima. (kons/ns)