The Jakarta Post
Authorities from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry have captured two Malaysian-flagged fishing vessels with Indonesian crews for allegedly fishing in Indonesian waters in the Malacca Strait.
The ministry’s director general of marine resources and fisheries supervision, TB Haeru Rahayu, said a directorate vessel, KP Hiu 01, had intercepted the foreign vessels during a patrol of Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Tuesday morning.
Codenamed KM SLFA 5223 and KM PKFB 1786, the two vessels had three and four crew members on board, respectively.
"When we checked, all of the ships’ crew members turned out to be Indonesian nationals,” Haeru said.
The Malaysian-flagged vessels were brought to the nearest supervision station.
The crew members had allegedly violated multiple articles of Law No. 45/2009 on fishing, including Article 92, which carries maximum sentence of 8 years in prison and a Rp 20 million (US$ 1.41 million) fine.
"The arrest has further shown the ministry's commitment to continue protecting and guarding our waters," Haeru said.
Pung Nugroho Saksono, the directorate's supervision and operation director, said the ministry's teams were constantly on the watch for foreign vessels operating illegally in the country's waters and were prepared to counter all kinds of methods used to elude Indonesian authorities.
“We always anticipate [those methods] and ensure that the ministry’s fisheries supervision vessels will always keep our waters safe from illegal and destructive fishing," Pung said.
He acknowledged that it was common for Malaysian-flagged vessels to employ Indonesian citizens. However, he warned citizens not to accept offers from foreign vessels recruiting for illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.
“We urge Indonesian fishermen to instead take advantage of capital access provided by the ministry,” Pung said.
The arrest came only days after the Indonesian Navy captured three Malaysian-flagged vessels with foreign fishermen on board for alleged illegal fishing within Indonesia's EEZ along the Malacca Strait on Sunday.
Navy personnel found more than 11 tons of fish aboard the three vessels, which employed Burmese and Thai crew members.
Illegal fishing has been common along Indonesia’s maritime borders in the Malacca Strait and the Natuna Sea.
With the latest capture, the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry under minister Edhy Prabowo has apprehended a total of 59 foreign-flagged vessels and 19 Indonesian-flagged vessels for illegal fishing, kompas.com reported.
The foreign vessels included 27 from Vietnam, 17 from Malaysia and 16 from the Philippines. (ami)