Indonesian authorities have intercepted a boat carrying around 400 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar off east Aceh, bringing the total number of migrants who have been saved or swum to the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia in the last few days to nearly 2,000, the Channel News Asia reports.
A wooden boat carrying 600 migrants, mostly Muslim Rohingya, arrived at the coast of Indonesia yesterday after authorities in Thailand – the usual destination for the desperate migrants – increased security efforts following the discovery of mass graves found in a jungle camp in Thailand’s southern Songkhla province.
More than 30 bodies said to be of people originating from Myanmar and Bangladesh had been found in graves close to the border with Malaysia.
A UNHCR report released last Friday said that despite the risks, an estimated 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers’ boats on the Bay of Bengal between January and March this year – almost double the number over the same period in 2014.
Based on survivor accounts, UNHCR estimated that 300 people died at sea in the first quarter of 2015 as a result of starvation, dehydration or abuse by boat crews.
The authorities have warned that more migrants could be at sea making the perilous journey.
World Maritime News Staff, Image: UNHCR