A 19-year-old Indonesian man was rescued near Guam after drifting at sea aboard a floating fish trap for 49 days with minimal supplies.
Aldi Novel Adliang, 19, was a lamp keeper for a floating fish trap known as a “rompong” which was moored to the seabed by rope, 125 kilometers off the coast of North Sulawesi in Indonesia. His job was to light lamps that attracted fish to the floating trap; he was visited weekly by a vessel from his employer, which would collect fish caught in the trap and provide him with fresh supplies, the Jakarta Post reported.
On July 14, the fish trap, which is a fish aggregator device shaped like a modest hut, was blown away by strong winds after the rope connecting it to the seabed broke. When his supplies ran out, he survived by catching fish and drinking sea water strained through his shirt to reduce the salt content. He also used wood from the fish trap to make fires for cooking after he ran out of cooking gas.
During more than six weeks adrift, more than 10 ships passed without spotting him. After 49 days and having drifted more than 1,000 kilometers, he was finally rescued by a vessel bearing the flag of Panama, the Arpeggio, in Guam waters on August 31 when he was able to send a distress signal via radio.
The Arpeggio was bound for Tokuyama, Japan, where it arrived, carrying Adliang, still weak from his ordeal, on September 6. He returned to Jakarta on September 8, accompanied by consular officials.