A French freighter has rescued one hundred and twenty Vietnamese boat people found drifting without food or water off the Malaysian coast.
SV PULL BACK TO GV French freighter Tourville
GV Refugees wave from ship's deck
SV French Flag, and PAN TO Crew members
SV Workers carry food containers to ship
SV Food being served by refugees to their families and take meal onto deck (2 shots)
SVs Refugees eating (5 shots)
SV AND ZOOM Sick refugees at clinic
SV Doctor treats refugee's eyes
SVs Refugees resting on cabin floor (2 shots)
SV Refugee questioned by Thai official
GV AND PAN Refugee children waiting to register
CU AND PULL BACK Man and woman writing on immigration forms
GV Officials take fingerprints
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Background: A French freighter has rescued one hundred and twenty Vietnamese boat people found drifting without food or water off the Malaysian coast. Six children had died during their thirteen-day journey, and pirates had boarded their craft several times.
SYNOPSIS: The freighter "Tourville" docked at Kleong Teoy Harbour in Bangkok, just one of many ships which had plucked refugees from the sea over the past months. The crew had been told an horrific tale of how pirates had plundered the refugees frail boat seven times.
The refugees were given their first meal for eight days. They'd run out of food and water just five days after setting off from Vung Tau.
The captain and crew of the Tourville rescued the refugees when two swam to the freighter and begged for water. On board, they were given all the water they could drink, and all the food they could eat.
To a large extent, these refugees were lucky. Many never get as far as the sea before they are arrested by the Vietnamese authorities. Those who do escape the country often die in the attempt, at sea.
Medical treatment was available on board the Tourville, as well as at the clinic they were taken to in Bangkok. The refugees were seriously ill after their ordeal, while several of the women and young girls had been raped by pirates.
After their meal and urgent medical attention, the refugees were registered with Thai immigration officials. Vietnam claimed (4 June) that it was honouring its commitment to try to prevent the illegal emigration of refugees. Radio Hanoi, monitored in Bangkok, denied suggestions that Vietnam was preparing a mass exodus of "Boat People".
After processing by United Nations Commission for Refugees staff, these refugees were accepted by France for permanent resettlement.