The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Navy has intensified patrols in the waters off Merauke bordering Papua New Guinea (PNG) after five fishermen who were forced by the PNG Navy to swim ashore went missing.
'We are deploying 25 marines from the Eastern Fleet to strengthen 12 marines from the local naval base for routine patrols,' the XI/Merauka Main Naval Base commander, Brig. Gen. Buyung Lalana said when contacted in Merauke from Jayapura.
'The patrol is using two 15-meter fast boats.'
The Eastern Fleet has also deployed a frigate, the KRI Halim Perdanakusumah 355, to search for the five missing men.
The five men were part of a group of 10 fishermen who had boarded a speedboat on Thursday to buy sea cucumbers in Kadawa village, PNG. The speedboat was reportedly intercepted on Saturday by the PNG Navy which immediately burnt it and told the fishermen to swim ashore. Only five of them made it.
'The activity has been ongoing for quite some times because residents from Merauke and PNG are closely related,' Buyung said.
'Barter activities have also been conducted for a long time.'
Buyung said he was bewildered by the PNG Navy's actions because the fishermen had their immigration papers checked at the Torasi post before being allowed to continue their journey to PNG.
Meanwhile, Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulitio condemned the actions of the PNG Navy.
'If there are any violations, they cannot simply burn the speedboat right away and tell the passengers to swim ashore,' he said.
'There are legal processes. If the fishermen violate any laws, just arrest and charge them.' (nvn)
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x