After spending nearly one-and-a-half months adrift at sea on a small fishing hut, an Indonesian teenager has been rescued by the Panamanian vessel MV Arpeggio. 19-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang was swept out to sea while working as lamp keeper on a floating fish trap, locally referred to as a rompong. At least 10 ships passed by the teenager before he was finally plucked from the ocean and returned home.
According to The Guardian, Adilang has been employed to light the company’s rompong’s lamps since the age of 16. The small, floating hut is one of 50 spread across the waters of Manado. Every week, someone from the company visits the lamp keepers to collect fish from the traps and deliver fresh supplies, such as food, water, and fuel. Ordinarily, the huts are anchored to the seabed by a long rope and suspended buoys. But, in mid-July, fierce winds snapped the tether to Adilang’s hut, sending him adrift into the ocean.
Adilang had but a few days supplies on board. So, to survive at sea, he caught fish, cooked them by starting a fire with wood from his hut, and sipped seawater through his clothes (minimizing salt intake). More than once, the teenager contemplated suicide. But, he remembered his parents’ advice to trust God and pray. So, he read the Bible he had onboard and practiced his faith.
The 19-year-old was picked up in the waters off Guam on August 31, 2018. Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat from the consulate in Osaka, told the Jakarta Post that 10 ships passed the boy by before his craft was recognized in the waters. “Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him, none of them stopped or saw Aldi,” said Firdaus. He added that “Aldi was scared and cried often” during the experience.
Adilang’s attempted to capture the attention of the MV Arpeggio by waving a cloth. When that tactic failed, he sent an emergency radio signal. During an interview with local news portal TribunManado, the teenager said he thought he “was going to die out there.”
Once Adilang was rescued, the MV Arpeggio’s captain contacted the Guam coast guard, as the ship was en route to Japan. Authorities decided to hand the boy over to the consulate officials on arrival in Tokuyama on September 6, 2018. Two days later, Adilang was escorted home to Manado. He is now in good health, according to reports.
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h/t The Guardian