The Jakarta Post
The war against illegal fishing activities continues with the Indonesian Navy unveiling a plan to sink 12 foreign vessels caught for conducting the activity later this week.
The Navy is scheduled to conduct the sinking in four different spots: Tarakan and Pontianak in West Kalimantan and in Batam, Riau and Aceh.
'The boats were caught by the Navy and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry during their operations,' Navy Spokesperson Commodore M. Zainuddin said, adding that the Navy caught four boats while the ministry seized eight boats.
Seven of the boats were registered in Vietnam, four were operated by Philippines companies and one by a Thai operator.
The boats were seized after their crews failed to show permits allowing them to run their activities in the country's territorial waters.
Along with the boats, the Indonesian authorities seized tons of fish and shrimp.
The crews had been tried and the court ruled that the boats had to be sunk. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiatuti is scheduled to attend the sinking process in some of the locations.
In August this year, Indonesia sank 34 illegal fishing boats from foreign countries to celebrate 70 years since the proclamation of Indonesian independence.
The boats were mostly from neighboring countries: Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Article 69 of Law No. 45/2009 on fisheries stipulates that the coast guard can sink foreign vessels operating illegally in the country's territorial waters based on sufficient preliminary evidence.
Indonesian President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo is leading the campaign against illegal fishing and says it costs the country billions of dollars in lost revenue every year.
The Indonesian authority has claimed that the number of illegal fishing activities had been reduced significantly, since Indonesia took a stern stance on the issue. However, many illegal fishermen manage to continue running their operations in the country's territory.
On Thursday, for instance, the Navy arrested a 140-gross tons cargo ship from Belize named Orien Star with tons of fish and shrimp heading to Malaysia.
'The ship is now anchored in Belawan, North Sumatra, waiting for investigation and trial,' Zainuddin said.
He declined to give details on how the ship from the Central American country could enter Indonesian
Earlier in September, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry arrested a Vietnamese fishing boat for allegedly operating illegally in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone, around Natuna, Riau Islands.
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