Singapore Refugee Camp 1975 - 1996

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Singapore Boat people:

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The boat people of Tourville


The ocean was so immense and so merciless.

We were a group of 54 people – men, women, and children – on a tiny powered topless wooden boat measuring about 8 meters (24ft) long and 1.6 meters (5ft) wide.

We were packed like sardines. Our little boat pitched and rolled over the angry waves. The boat was overloaded, and we were just less than 2 feet (about 50 cm) above the water, and every time a wave came, it splashed us all over.


When the big ship came within the range in which we could distinguish its objects, we started waving. It kept moving closer to us and then stopped at a distance, apparently for fear of sinking us by big waves it would create if it came too close to our boat.

We approached its flank. A rope ladder was hung down fom the ship and I was the man to come up and talk to the ship captain.

It was an Arabian ship, named SALAH ALDEEN, but the captain was British.

He refused to rescue us, saying that he was not allowed to. But he gave us as much water as we could take

Read the whole story here A Sea Escape

Submited by Ha Nguyen.

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