9 Nov 2005

American Samoan congressman asked to help stranded fishermen

12:41 pm on 9 November 2005

34 fishermen stranded in American Samoa have sought the help of the territory's congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, to return to their homelands.

The group, which includes 18 Chinese, 15 Vietnamese and one from Fiji, was stranded in the territory after the companies which owned the two fishing boats they crewed went bankrupt.

According to the Fijian crew member, Ilikena Tuberu, he was supposed to be paid 200 US dollars per month but has not received any wages for three years.

He has been living with members of the Fijian community who have been feeding him and giving him shelter.

Like the rest of the group, the Fijian fisherman wants to return to Fiji and is asking for the congressman's help in getting the payments due to him.

Agents for the two longliners that have gone bankrupt say they hope to have most of the stranded sailors returned to their countries by Friday.