During April 2020, IFC observed an increased Rohingya Migrants’ Movement within the IFC Area of Interest (AOI).
Specifically, they were noticed the following incidents:
- The first incident involved the interception and detention of 202 personnel onboard a fishing trawler off Langkawi by the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on 5 Apr 20. The 199 Rohingya migrants
and 3 Myanmar nationals (suspected boat crew) were arrested.
- On 7 April 2020, a boat with 132 Rohingya migrants onboard within the Bay of Bengal, capsized. The Bangladesh Coast Guard managed to rescue 77 personnel and 15 bodies were retrieved, while 40 personnel is still missing.
- On 13 April 2020, the Bangladesh Coast Guard saved 396 Rohingya migrants after being adrift in a fishing trawler within Bangladeshi waters. Further investigation by the authorities showed that the fishing trawler was headed for Malaysia, and it is estimated that around 32 crewmembers lost their lives at sea, while the vessel was adrift.
- The fourth incident involved the interception of more than 200 Rohingya immigrants onboard a fishing trawler by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), after it was detected by a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) maritime patrol flight in international waters west of Langkawi (adjacent to Malaysian EEZ) on 16 Apr 20. The RMN provided the vessel with essential supplies before it was turned back at sea due to the prevailing COVID-19 countermeasures undertaken by Malaysian authorities.
- On 28 April 2020, 43 Rohingya migrants coming ashore at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh onboard a small boat, were believed to have disembarked from one of the larger vessels carrying migrants at sea.
The IFC has observed that Malaysia is the “preferred” destination by the Rohingya migrants. Namely, of the 29 incidents involving Rohingya migrants recorded among 2018 to 2019, 21 incidents stated Malaysia as the destination, with Indonesia and Thailand as the stated destinations for the remaining 8 incidents.
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