16 May 2014

Five Indonesian fishermen detained in American Samoa

6:51 pm on 16 May 2014

The Immigration Office in American Samoa detained five Indonesian fishermen yesterday who refused to board their fishing vessel.

The attorney general Talauega Eleasalo Ale says they were brought in by an agent to work on fishing ships.

He says the Immigration Office can issue permits to certain foreign nationals to enter American Samoa for the sole purpose of boarding a ship that is waiting for them.

"When these individuals fail to board the ships or board the ships and then jump off the ship, that creates an issue for us because that's a violation of the permit that we gave to allow them to enter the territory."

Talauega says he's not sure why the men refused to board the ship.

Last year 18 Indonesian fishermen refused to board a ship and claimed that they were being mistreated by the vessel's skipper.

The men will be housed at a correctional facility until arrangements are made for them to return to Indonesia, which is normally the agent's responsibility.