The families of 15 people lost at sea after a fishing boat capsized in early August will receive 1.5 million kyat (US$1,500) each for their losses, according to a spokesperson of the boat operator.
Maung Maung Shwe, a representative of the Shwe Aw Gyi company, confirmed that the firm will dispense the funds, but did not specify a date.
“The company is preparing to provide a 1.5m kyat handout to each of the families of the missing crewmembers, but we don’t know when it will happen,” he said.
The privately owned and operated fishing boat, Arawar Minn No 9, was carrying 21 people when it capsized off the coast of Arakan State, western Burma, on 2 August. Six people were rescued by other boats after swimming and staying afloat for some 14 hours.
When the survivors reached shore, 19 people were reported missing, as crew members offered conflicting accounts of how many people manned the ship. The company maintains that the crew had 21 members, 15 of whom are still missing and presumed dead.
“Right now, the company is having a hard time breaking it to the families that their loved ones may be dead,” said Maung Maung Shwe. “Many of the family members are in denial.”
He said the six surviving crew members, who were hospitalised in Kyaukphyu for exhaustion, were given 300,000 kyat each for travel expenses so that they can return to Rangoon. Maung Maung added that they have all decided to continue working with the company.
An extensive land sweep of the nearby islands and a six-ship search-and-rescue mission are still underway in hopes of finding the missing fishermen.