23 Vietnam stowaways found in the seas off Hsinchu coast
Twenty-three Vietnamese stowaways were found aboard a tiny wooden boat only just slightly larger than a bamboo raft the night before yesterday in the seas off Nanliao Fishing Harbor ( ), said Hsinchu coastguardsmen. The coastguardsmen detected an unidentified object on their radar around 11 p.m. on April 14, discovering the wooden boat drifting in waters outside Nanliao Fishing Harbor. The stowaways were waiting for the best time to bring the boat ashore, officials said.
Twenty-three male Vietnamese stowaways crammed the deck of the poorly equipped boat that was meant to accommodate no more than 10 people, leaving barely any space for the coastguardsmen to walk. With the boat filled over capacity, “it was extremely dangerous to be drifting in the waters that night with the wind beginning to stir up heavy waves,” said one of the coastguardsmen.
According to officials, all 23 stowaways were assisted onto Coast Guard vessels for safety reasons, and it wasn’t until 6 a.m. yesterday morning that they were guided into the harbor for further investigations.
It is now understood that the stowaways came from Pingtan (
), mainland China. Many of the stowaways had already illegally immigrated to Taiwan, but were later deported. In order to earn a living, however, they once again attempted to enter Taiwan, this time on a small boat purchased in the mainland. They were hoping to earn NT$30,000 per month after arriving, the stowaways said.
The Coast Guard guaranteed that coastline monitoring and control will be enhanced as the shores of Hsinchu are the closest to China.