About 145 Rohingya boat people were found crammed inside a vessel without food or water for 48 hours off Mook island in Trang’s Sikao district on Sunday.
The refugees told authorities that they were headed to Malaysia but their food and water had run out before they reached shore. Feeling exhausted and fatigued from hunger, they then decided to float their vessel off Mook island in the hope of being able to ask for food and water from the locals before they would go on, Pol Col Arthit Damsanit, chief of Marine Police Division 9, said.
Of the 145 Rohingya, there were two women and two children, he said.
Tourist boat operators spotted the vessel in the sea off Park Meng beach in tambon Mai Fard and informed the authorities.
A combined team of marine police and Red Cross officials descended on the boat and provided basic humanitarian aid by giving them food supplies. Officials did not arrest them or bring them ashore because of lack of sheltering facilities. They only pressured them to stay out of Thai territorial waters, Pol Col Arthist said.
About 1,700 Rohingya illegal migrants have been rounded up since early January. Thailand has provided them with food and water on humanitarian grounds.
The Muslim Rohingya are a minority group in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and claim they are fleeing violent persecution.