Indonesia rescuers say search end for Rohingya refugees after boat capsized

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Indonesian rescuers said Friday they had ended the search for any more Rohingya refugees missing at sea after their boat capsized, despite reports from some of the 75 survivors that dozens more were swept away.

“The search ended on Thursday. All Rohingya refugees on top of the boat yesterday have been rescued,” Muhammad Fathur Rachman, an official from the local search and rescue agency in Aceh, said through a spokesperson.

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He said the search had ended because there was no list of passengers.

Around 150 refugees were said to have been on board, and 69 were found drifting at sea off Aceh Province on Thursday in a dramatic rescue after they spent more than a day standing on the hull of a capsized ship. Six others had been rescued by fishermen a day earlier.

“There is no additional information that we received about missing persons, and there is no manifest of the boat,” said Rachman.

“Our analysis is the boat cannot hold 150 people.”

But some earlier survivor accounts indicated many more people were swept away, according to local fishermen and officials.

West Aceh fishing community secretary-general Pawang Amiruddin told AFP by phone on Wednesday that survivors estimated there were “around 150 people on the boat”.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) also said it was “deeply concerned” about the incident.

A protection associate for the agency, Faisal Rahman, told AFP on Thursday that one of the survivors said “the boat took 151 people -- once the boat capsized, approximately around 50 people (were) maybe missing and passed away”.

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