The Jakarta Post
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said on Thursday that her office had an excellent working relationship with the Navy in the fight against illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
She dismissed allegations of a rift between the two institutions following the capture of a Chinese-made vessel suspected of illicit activities in Indonesian waters.
Susi's statement on Thursday clarified previous reports on the failed attempt to capture the Fu Yuan Yu 80, a Chinese-linked ship that appeared to be operating freely despite being in possession of an expired permit.
Susi said she was criticizing her own Maritime and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force's (PSDKP) failure to detain the ship during a recent visit to the Navy's Western Fleet headquarters.
'I was angry at my [own] people, who couldn't see that there was a vessel on our radar that clearly possessed an expired permit,' Susi told The Jakarta Post at her Central Jakarta office, denying media reports that she had blamed the Navy and that she had employed Army personnel for her security detail.
'I said to my team that I'd have all of their monitors burned down because they'd proved useless in pursuing transgressors.'
Susi added that the ministry's concerted efforts with the Navy and the anti-illegal-fishing task force were in fact increasing, as proven by several successful joint operations to capture vessels suspected of illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing.
One such success was the capture of the 4,306-gross-ton (GT)Chinese-made tramp service ship MV Hai Fa, which was suspected of illegal activities in Indonesian territorial waters. It was detained with the help of the Navy on Dec. 27.
The vessel's 24 crew members, all Chinese nationals, were caught with more than 900 tons of frozen fish and prawns, as well as 66 tons of hammerhead sharks and oceanic white tip sharks.
The Fu Yuan Yu 80 was revealed on Feb. 20 on the radar of Susi's office operating off the northern coast of Jakarta, despite official records showing that its permit had expired on Dec. 12, 2014.
Susi said she had then discovered that the ship operating under the name Fu Yuan Yu was a different ship altogether. According to ministry data, the Fu Yuan Yu is a Chinese-made, 1,344-GT fishing vessel registered under the ownership of PT Antarticha Segara Lines, the same company that owns the MV Hai Fa.
'When I went to inspect the vessel, I found the Komara Amashuri,' Susi said.
The 50-GT Komara Amashuri was a local fishing vessel from Karangsong port in Indramayu, West Java.
Susi hinted that the confusion might have been caused by foul play, such as the intentional relocation of the original ship's vessel monitoring system. 'We are currently investigating the case for further clues,' she said.
'I was angry at my [own] people, who couldn't see that there was a vessel on our radar that clearly possessed an expired permit.'
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