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Migrant Boat Sinks Off Malaysia, 13 Dead

  • VOA News



An overcrowded, wooden migrant boat has capsized in stormy seas off the coast of Malaysia, killing at least 13 people, according to Malaysian officials.

First Adm. Mohamad Aliyas Hamdan, the district chief of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, said 19 people have been rescued.

Agency official Mohamad Hambali Yaakup said the boat sank in bad sea conditions not far from the coast. The boat was likely taking Indonesian workers back home to Sumatra island when it went down Thursday not far from the coastal town of Sabak Bernam in central Selangor state.

As many as 100 people are believed to have been on board the boat, say Malaysian officials, who have dispatched several vessels and a plane to look for survivors.

Around two million Indonesians are believed to be working illegally in Malaysia. The Indonesians work without legal permits in plantations and other industries in Malaysia, and often travel between the countries by crossing the narrow Strait of Malacca in rickety, overcrowded, and poorly equipped boats. They often make the journey at night to avoid being spotted by authorities.

Some material for this report came from the Associated Press.