The Jakarta Post
Indonesia will not formally protest to Chinese authorities over a recent incident in Natuna, Riau Islands, during which a Chinese coast guard vessel was found to have escorted the MV Gui Bei Yu 27088, a Chinese-flagged boat allegedly fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, a senior military officer has said.
The Indonesian Navy’s Western Fleet (Armabar) commander Rear Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrahman said based on the results of the Navy’s assessment on its arrest of the Gui Bei Yu 27088, there was no violation suspected to have been committed by the Chinese coast guard vessel in Natuna, although it was in proximity of where the fishing vessel was intercepted by the Navy’s sea patrol.
‘We will not file a protest against China because the Chinese coast guard vessel at the location, we think, didn’t commit any violations. So, there’s no need to take such an action [protest],” said Taufiq, while mentioning the Navy was continuing its investigation into the incident.
As reported earlier, Indonesian war vessel the KRI Oswald Siahaan-354 managed to stop the Gui Bei Yu 27088, which attempted to flee arrest, by firing shots at the vessel. The Chinese fishing boat was fleeing from Natuna waters after it was found to have illegally fished in Indonesian territory. The Gui Bei Yu ignored several warning shots previously fired by the KRI Oswald Siahaan because of the presence of a Chinese coast guard, which purportedly was protecting the fishing vessel.
Tanjung Pinang Region IV naval base commander Commodore S.Irawan said the Navy’s success in capturing the Chinese fishing boat could not be separated from the bravery of Indonesian Navy personnel, who pursued the fishing vessel even though the latter was protected by the Chinese coast guard.
“Previously, several warning shots using small calibre munitions we fired to the right and left sides of the boat were ignored by its crew. They didn’t care and continued trying to flee because a large Chinese coast guard vessel was present, which gave them protection,” said Irawan.
“But because of our personnel’s bravery and the fact that the KRI Oswald Siahaan 354 is a large vessel [comparable] to the Chinese coast guard vessel, we eventually managed to stop the boat and arrest its crew,” he went on.
Irawan said the incident occurred on Friday evening when the Chinese fishing vessel, carrying eight crew members, was illegally fishing in Natuna waters. Their illegal practice was uncovered by the KRI Oswald Siahaan 354, which was on a routine patrol of the waters.
“Based on the order of the Armabar commander, the KRI Oswald Siahaan got authority to fire at the Chinese fishing boat to try and stop it,” said Irawan.
He further said the Chinese boat and its eight crew members arrived at the Indonesian Navy headquarters in Ranai, Natuna, on Saturday, to be investigated for alleged illegal fishing and territorial violations.
“From our temporary investigation, it was known that the boat’s crew intentionally destroyed their vessel in attempt to avoid our arrest,” said Irawan.
The KRI Oswald Siahaan 354 is a frigate equipped with missiles. It is 113 meters long and 12 meters wide. This large destroyer is assigned to carry out sea patrols in Natuna waters, which are prone to illegal fishing by foreign vessels.
Natuna is approximately 550 kilometers northeast of Batam Island, and it borders with the South China Sea. (ebf)
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