Susi torpedoes Navy over Chinese vessel
The Jakarta Post
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti was in no better place on Wednesday to vent her anger when it comes to the Navy's apparent lack of enthusiasm for cracking down on foreign poachers.
At the headquarters of the Navy's Western Fleet in Central Jakarta, the outspoken minister told reporters about a seemingly untouchable Chinese fishing vessel that appeared to operate freely despite the revocation of its license in 2013.
The Fu Yuan Yu 80 was caught on the radar of Susi's office on Tuesday operating off the northern coast of Jakarta, with no sign that the Navy intended to detain the ship despite knowing its location.
'It [the ship's continued operation] is an extraordinary example of abuse of the NKRI [the Unitary State of Indonesia],' said Susi after attending the inauguration of Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Taufiqurrahman.
'I hope the Navy and the PSDKP [the Maritime and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force] can detain the vessel as soon as possible today [Wednesday],' urged Susi, who uses Army personnel as her security detail.
According to Susi, the vessel is operated by an Indonesian firm PT. Antartica, which is part of the same group used by the Chinese operators of the MV Hai Fa. The MV Hai Fa was seized in December and is the biggest ship the ministry has yet captured.
The ministry seized the 4,306-ton vessel on suspicion that it was conducting illicit practices in Indonesian territorial waters. It was seized with the assistance of the Navy on Dec. 27.
The ship and its 24-man crew, all Chinese nationals, was chartered by Indonesian fishery companies to export goods to China.
Navy spokesperson Commodore Manahan Simorangkir said the Navy had ordered a hunt for the Fu Yuan Yu 80. 'The field command is attempting to find the vessel now,' Manahan said.
In December, the Navy sought to capture 22 Chinese vessels, but only eight were actually caught. The failure has raised questions about the Navy's commitment to safeguarding the country's territory.
Indonesia is taking a tough stance against China in its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, by confiscating Chinese vessels and ending privileges granted to China to fish in Indonesian waters.
The government has revoked a deal signed with China in 2013 that gave Chinese fishermen advantages over other countries fishing in Indonesian waters.
After President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo took office on Oct. 20, Indonesia upped the ante in its battle against illegal fishing by capturing many vessels from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Citing an annual loss of more than US$2 billion to foreign poachers, Indonesia has sunk more than a dozen vessels from Vietnam, Thailand, PNG and Malaysia.
The government has sunk no Chinese vessels yet as it is still awaiting court decisions determining whether the vessels violated the law.
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