Ghost ship in Myanmar waters earlier towed by Indonesian-manned vessel: navy

The abadoned Indonesian ship "Sam Rataulangi PB1600" is seen from the shore of Yangon region on September 1, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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Ghost ship in Myanmar waters earlier towed by Indonesian-manned vessel: navy

  • The cables attached to the ship broke, and the ship was floating along with the tide and it was difficult to continue its journey

YANGON: A stranded vessel empty of crew and goods that was found in Myanmar’s waters this week was being towed by a ship with 13 Indonesian nationals before it became unmoored, the Myanmar Navy said.
Fishermen came across the rusted and empty vessel, bearing the name “Sam Rataulangi PB 1600,” drifting in the Gulf of Martaban, about 11 kilometers (seven miles) off the coast of Myanmar’s commercial capital.
Myanmar Navy personnel boarded the vessel to investigate the situation this week, and shed some light on their search in a post on the navy’s official Facebook page late Friday.
“It was the view that the ship could have been towed by another ship after two cables... were found at its head,” the post said.
The navy’s coastal radar records showed the movement of two ships on Sunday and Monday in the Yangon and Sittaung rivers — which run into the Gulf of Martaban.
Based on these findings, the navy scoured the waters for a second ship and found the “Independence” vessel, carrying 13 Indonesian crew members, about 80 kilometers from Yangon’s shores.
After questioning the crew members, the navy discovered that the Independence departed Jakarta on August 13, towing the old vessel bound for a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh, the Facebook post said.
“They faced bad weather when they arrived south of Yangon River,” the navy said.
“The cables attached to the ship broke, and the ship was floating along with the tide and it was difficult to continue its journey.”
Old and unseaworthy vessels are often towed to Bangladesh’s southern Chittagong province, which houses a thriving — and controversial — ship-breaking industry.
According to the Marine Traffic website, which lists the movements of ships around the globe, the vessel was built in 2001 and had a deadweight of 26,500 tons.
The navy said the investigation is ongoing.
An official from the Indonesia Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday that they had received word of this case and said the embassy in Yangon was handling it.
“It is the boat that was arrested; the Indonesians are just the boat crew,” Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, director at the ministry’s Indonesian citizens protection department, told AFP.


Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

Updated 21 November 2018
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Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

  • Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people
  • Bachchan wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a ‘sense of accomplishment’

CHENNAI, India: Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan was hailed on Wednesday as a star of India’s farmers after clearing loans worth more than 40 million rupees ($560,000) as an agricultural crisis forces many rural workers into extreme poverty.
India’s farmers have been hit hard by a drop in commodity prices, stagnant wages, record fuel prices and high fertilizer costs, sparking rallies across the country this year calling for better prices for produce and loan waivers.
Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people.
“It is a very big problem that has left farmers across the country in dire straits,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union) told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
“The government policies are flawed and need an overhaul. We are fighting for that change but are thankful for any help that comes along the way.”
Tikait said Bachchan’s gesture might have been symbolic but it meant a lot for farmers who were struggling to survive.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, with almost 60 percent of suicides caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, according to official data.
Bachchan, one of Indian cinema’s most revered actors, wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a “sense of accomplishment.”
“Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer ... and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed,” he wrote.