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日期:106-05-01 點閱數:367

Love without borders- How Taiwan's kind social acts saved a 22-year-old Indonesian fisherman
 When 22-year-old Indonesian fishermen Watt (alias), left his hometown of Sinjai in South Sulawesi on March 30, 2016 and traveled 3,000 kilometers away from home to Taiwan, he could never expect the “shocking” journey that is ahead of him. Like many other Indonesian fishermen, Watt traveled afar to work on Taiwan’s Tuna fishing fleets in order to provide better living for his family. Being home sick and working under the harsh conditions of the merciless sea began to have a toll on Watt. Thus, he decided to return home and applied for premature termination of his contract with the fishery operator. Luckily, his kind boss agreed without penalizing him, and gave him all his well-deserved salary.
 Fate plays cruel tricks sometimes. One day before Watt board the plane to return home, he was admitted to the hospital due to a heart condition, suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, and almost died of shock and respiratory failure. To save his life, his boss, fishery operator Mr. Lin stepped in, acted as Watt’s emergent contact, and signed the agreement form for emergent Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) intervention. Fortunately, Watt gradually recovered under the care of a team of medical specialists from Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital. However, without proper healthcare insurance, Watt was faced with a huge medical bill of 1.03 million Taiwanese dollars (equivalent to 455.92 million Indonesian Rupiah).
 Knowing his difficulty, the Marine Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government and various organizations immediately took charge to connect with various social organizations, seeking available social resources. To everyone’s surprise, the fishery operator generously donated $150,000. The Indonesian Fishermen Agency provided $125,000 from insurance coverage. The Indonesian Economic and Trade Office and the Indonesian Fishermen Association provided $390,000, and the remaining $365,000 sum was comprised of kindhearted donations rounded up by Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung Marine Bureau, and the Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government. In the end, Watt returned home safely and debt free on April, 28th, 2017.
 Indonesia is an important partner of Taiwan’s offshore fishing industry. Taiwanese fishing vessels have declared that they have employed more than 10,000 Indonesian crew members. In order to thank these heroic fishermen for their contribution to Taiwan's offshore fishing industry, on January 20, 2017, the Executive Yuan Agricultural Committee enacted “Regulations on the qualification of the foreign crew member” (found in article 26 of Act for Distant Water Fisheries). In addition to increased fishermen working salary, the regulation ensures all foreign fishermen are protected by healthcare insurance as well as accidental death insurance. This demonstrates Taiwan’s utmost respect and regards for good labor welfare and human rights. We hope, from Watt’s incidence, we could unify our social resources for a more comprehensive healthcare insurance and labor welfare system, so that when similar incidence occurs, our healthcare system will be able to care for fishermen across the vast blue ocean, without borders, and without the fear of uncovered medical expenses.

Special thanks to:
. Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital
. PCT Seamen’s/Fishermen’s Service Center
. Taiwan’s Labor Rights Association
. Indonesian Fishermen Association
. Chun Sheng Fishery Co. Ltd
. Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Corp.
. Taipei Hsing Tian Kong
. Kaohsiung City-County Association
. Nan Shan Life Charity Foundation
. Overseas Fisheries Development Council of the Republic of China
. The Social Welfare and Philanthropic Association of Kaohsiung City