Indonesian teenager rescued after drifting 7 weeks at sea

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An Indonesian teenager who survived 49 days adrift at sea after the wooden fish trap he was employed to mind slipped its moorings says he ran out of food within a week and survived on fish and seawater he strained through his clothing.

Aldi was found in Guam's territorial waters.

The Indonesian consul general office in Osaka took this photo of Mr Aldi leaving his rescue ship when it landed him in Japan.

Mr Aldi Novel Adilang, 19, had one of the loneliest jobs in the world: He was a lamp keeper for a floating fish trap, 125km out at sea, with weekly brief human contact and a walkie-talkie.

Aldi was employed to light up a wooden floating fish trap - so as to attract the fish - around 125 km from the North Sulawesi coast.

The rafts are anchored with ropes and Aldi Adilang said strong friction caused them to break. Supplies including food and fuel for a generator are dropped off about once a week.

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He said that he turned on a lamp every time he saw another ship and could not remember how many vessels passed by "unaware of my ordeal". The ship's cook even cut his hair.

The MV Arpeggio, which rescued Adilang off Guam, contacted the Indonesian mission in Osaka when it docked and officials collected him on September 6, the Osaka consulate said in a statement.

"After he ran out of the cooking gas, he burned the rompong's wooden fences to make a fire for cooking", Mirza Nurhidayat, another consular official, told the Jakarta Post. When it didn't rain for days, "I had to soak my clothes in the sea, then I squeezed and drank the water". "I could only pray that the shark went away", Aldi was quoted as saying by the TribunManado news site.

Mr Adilang arrived in Japan on 6 September and flew back to Indonesia two days later, where he has now been reunited with his family.

Jefri Sagune, the chairman of the Indonesian Small Fishermen Association, told the Tribune that the government should provide Global Positioning System tracking devices for fishermen "so that when they are lost, it will be easier to track them down".

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