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Jakarta Post

Discovery of unmanned underwater vehicle highlights legal vacuum

  • Dian Septiari


Jakarta   /   Tue, January 19 2021   /  01:00 am
Indonesian Navy chief of staff Adm. Yudo Margono (center) and the Navy's Hydrography and Oceanography Center Rear Adm. Agung Prasetiawan shows journalists during a press briefing in Jakarta on Jan. 4, 2021 a unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) found in Selayar Island waters, South Sulawesi on Dec. 26, 2020. The Navy says it has yet determined the origin or which party operated the device.(Antara/M. Risyal Hidayat)

The discovery of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) in Indonesian waters late last year has highlighted the lack of a legal basis to deal with such devices. Fishermen in waters off Selayar Island, South Sulawesi, found the UUV on Dec. 26. It was found floating on the sea surface and had a camera-like device attached to it.  The Indonesian Navy said it had not yet determined the origin or which party operated the device, as it had no markings or writing. Nevertheless, speculation has arisen that the device was used for espionage and had violated Indonesia’s national sovereignty as it was found in territorial waters. It is not the first drone-like device discovered within Indonesian territory. In 2016, authorities found a seismic survey device developed by Norway-based Partner Plast AS near Natuna Islands. Since then, authorities have found at least seven suspiciou...