Indonesia Seizes Four Vietnamese Illegal Fishing Vessels

Indonesian navy just arrested four Vietnam-flagged illegal fishing vessels in North Natuna Sea, Riau Islands Province, Sunday (02/24) - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia keeps fighting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels in the country’ territory. Recently, Indonesian navy just arrested four Vietnam-flagged illegal fishing vessels in North Natuna Sea, Riau Islands Province, Sunday (02/24).

The vessels also allegedly used trawl which is forbidden in Indonesia. Those illegal vessels are BV 9487 TS with 2 holds capacity, BV 525 TS and BV 4923 TS with one hold capacity each, also an empty BV 525 TS.

The Vietnam vessels was guarded by two Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance (VFRS) ships. The ships did a dangerous maneuver to Indonesian Navy ship, KRI TOM-357.

When Indonesian Navy ship escorted four illegal fishing vessels, VFSR ships infiltrated Indonesian exclusive economic zone and did hostile intent act to prevent the arrest. But Indonesia could avoid the manuever and continue to escort the vessels to Indonesian Navy Base in Tanjung Pinang, Riau.

“Their surveillance vessels tried to hinder, even chased to our territory,” said Indonesian Minister for Marine and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, in official statement.

VFRS is known as Vietnamese government institution under its Agriculture and Rural Development ministry. It coordinates with Vietnam Navy, Vietnamese Coast Guard, and Vietnam Border Defence Force. Owns at least 100 ships, VFRS is a non-military task force responsible for patrol, monitor, surveillance, and act to law violation in Vietnam jurisdiction waters.

Indonesia considered that it is not the first time VFRS did such thing. According to Pudjiasuti, on Feb. 19, VFRS ship also disrupted.

The minister stated that she condemned VFRS boat for hindering Indonesia’ effort in arresting four Vietnamese illegal vessels. She explained that Vietnam has violated several international laws such as Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea 1972 (COLREGS 1972) and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and Indonesian law.

From October 2014, Indonesia has sunken 488 illegal fishing vessels. More than half of the vessels are Vietnam’s, amounted 276 units.

“As world community, Vietnam shouldn’t let this keep happening, but soon improving and harmonize with several global movements to eradicate IUU fishing,” said Pudjiastuti.

Indonesia has mentioned its protest and asked Vietnam’s government to explain and apologize trough official diplomatic channel. And to prevent this to happen in the future, Marine and Fisheries ministry, along with Navy and Sea Security Agency will invigorate patrol in North Natuna Sea waters.

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