Two Vietnamese vessels
arrested for illegal fishing
in Natuna

The Batam-office Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry (KKP)’s patrol vessel KP HIU 009 has arrested two Vietnamese-flagged vessels and 35 crew members which are all Vietnamese nationals for allegedly conducting illegal fishing activities in Natuna, Riau Islands, on Saturday.

The ministry’s head of fisheries and maritime resources surveillance working unit, Akhmadon, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the arrest began when KP HIU 009 spotted two Vietnamese-flagged vessels -- KM.KG 90432 TS and KM.KG 90616 TS – that were allegedly conducting illegal fishing activities using trawls in Indonesian waters.

“After examining the ships, we found that the vessels have no license or permit to fish in the Indonesian waters. We pulled the vessels to Batam for a legal process. The crew members have also been arrested,” said Akhmadon.

He said the arrest showed that a high intensity of sea patrol conducted by security officers and the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry did not have much impact on illegal fishing perpetrated by foreign fishermen, including from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, in Indonesian waters.

“Most of fishermen we have arrested have been arrested several times by security patrols both from the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) and our ministry, and there is in fact no deterrent effect,” said Akhmadon.

Ministry data shows that seven Vietnamese-flagged vessels and four fishing ships from Malaysia have been arrested during the last two months.

Akhmadon said that if proven guilty, the perpetrators could face a sentence of five years in prison at a maximum and a Rp 20 billion (US$365,798) in fine as stipulated by Law No.31/2004 on Fisheries. (ebf)

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