The Sister who got 87 detainees home to Vietnam


Sister Ma Theresa Trinh Vu Phuong has helped over 130 detained Vietnamese fishermen in a number of Papua New Guinean (PNG) prisons to return home.

She looked after the needs of the detainees and served as their interpreter and mediator in court, said the secretary for communications and youth at Don Bosco Technical School at Gabutu, in Port Moresby, Fr Ambrose Pereira.

They have been detained in the prisons of Alotau, Giligili and Bomana for illegally fishing and harvesting beche-de-mer in Milne Bay.

Trinh communicates with their families back home and arranges for payment of their penalties and getting all the necessary documents and tickets for them to fly back home to Vietnam.

“Sr Trinh successfully processed the repatriation of 87 Vietnamese fishermen and about 18 more will soon follow and all will soon be able to re-join their families back home, thanks to the courage of this sister and the support given by her Salesian community,” said Fr Ambrose.

Trinh is a Vietnamese Salesian Sister working in a girls’ skills training institute in Sideia Island, diocese of Alotau in Milne Bay.

Another priest, Fr Rolando Santos said the case of the Vietnamese fishermen was disturbing.

“They (Vietnamese fishermen) are used by whoever employs them to fish illegally without a proper license or any guarantee of protection or security from their employers.

“It is a serious abuse on the rights and dignity of these young men to be sent out by their recruiters to fish in illegal waters without a proper licence and without any guarantee of protection or security.”

“Once caught, they are almost totally forgotten and abandoned.”

The Governor of Milne Bay, Titus Philemon has expressed his deep gratitude to Sr Trinh for the help that she has given the Vietnamese detainees.


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