23 Oct 2008

American Samoan government continues investigation of fisherman's disappearance

2:46 pm on 23 October 2008

The FBI is investigating the disappearance of an Indonesian fisherman in American Samoa and allegations of mistreatment of his fellow crew.

The missing man is one of 42 Indonesian fishermen employed by a Taiwanese company that fishes for an American Samoan cannery, Starkist Samoa.

The other men left the territory last week after allegations of mistreatment, including underpayment and enslavement, by the captains of their fishing vessels.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, who represents American Samoa in the United States congress, says of three fishermen unaccounted for last week only one is still missing.

"We are already consulting closely with Mr Mike Sala's office in Homeland Security and his people and see what we need to do to find out the vessel and the sea captain and find out what happened to this fisherman who is still missing."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says the fishermen told him they were promised monthly salaries of a 1,000 US dollars but they'd only received 200 dollars after six or seven months' fishing.