1 August 2016
Smirking from last week’s execution of drug convicts against global pleas, Indonesia plans to sink 71 fishing vessels on August 17 to mark its independence anniversary.
Susi Pujiastuti, Indonesia Fisheries Minister, said on Monday in Jakarta that the vessels were impounded from foreigners for fishing illegally in Indonesia’s water.
She said that officials would sink the boats in eight locations, by opening valves to the sea to allow water to flow into the hulls.
Pujiastuti recalled that in the past, officials used explosives to destroy and sink foreign vessels caught for illegal fishing.
She said government chose to abandon the use of explosives because, “we don’t want to act excessively.’’
The minister said that Indonesia had taken a tough stance against illegal fishing and “has sunk more than 150 foreign fishing boats seized for poaching since 2014’’.
Pujiastuti did not say if seized Chinese fishing vessels were among those to be scuttled.
China lodged a strong protest with Indonesia last month after Indonesian warships fired shots at Chinese fishing boats accused of stealing fish in what Jakarta says is part of its exclusive economic zone.
It was a third such incident involving Chinese ships in waters off Indonesia’s Natuna Islands this year.
The Natuna Islands and surrounding waters are the closest to the Nine-Dash Line, a demarcation used by China as the basis of its unilateral claim to a majority of the resource-rich South China Sea.