BANGKOK, Thailand Another boat carrying Rohingya refugees escaping the brutal military crackdown in Myanmar has been detected off the coast of Thailand, possibly heading to Langkawi island in northern Malaysia.
The wooden boat with approximately 60 passengers on board, was first sighted by a patrolling Royal Thai Navy vessel at about 6am yesterday (local time) near Phang Nga, in southern Thailand.
Their latest location as at 4am today was near Ko Racha No, not far from Phuket Island. We believe the boat would now be in the waters off Trang, based on its modest speed, a source told Bernama here today.
The source who declined to reveal his identity, said the boat was travelling at about 12 kilometres/hour.
The occupants of the boat according to him, did not request for any assistance when approached by the authorities.
He estimated the boat would take another two to three days before it reached the waters off Satun near the Thai-Malaysia maritime border and Langkawi.
Last week, Reuters had quoted rights group and sources as saying a Rohingya boat with about 70 occupants had set out for Malaysia from Sittwe in Rakhin State, Myanmar.
Mathew Smiths from the Fortify Right organisation who was quoted by the international news agency, said the boat left Myanmar on April 12 and was expected to reach Malaysia next week in what he described as a tremendously dangerous journey.
The latest boat with 60 Rohingya refugees, would be the second such boat to sail to Malaysian waters in recent weeks, following the discovery of a boat with 56 Rohingya in Langkawi waters on April 3.
The Rohingya on board that boat have since been detained and sent to an Immigration centre in Kedah.
About 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine State since August last year, mostly to neighbouring Bangladesh, following the latest round of sectarian violence allegedly perpetrated by the Myanmar army.
Source: Nam News Network