Indonesia detains Chinese fishing boat and crew for illegal fishing

Ship was one of 12 foreign fishing vessels spotted trawling in the Natuna Sea

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 June, 2016, 9:58pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 June, 2016, 9:58pm

An Indonesian navy warship arrested a Chinese boat and seven Chinese crew members for fishing illegally in Indonesian territorial waters bordering the South China Sea, Indonesia’s navy spokesman said on Saturday, according to Kyodo.

The Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol-383 responded to a report from maritime air surveillance officials that 12 foreign fishing boats were illegally working in the Natuna Sea, First Admiral Edi Sucipto said.

“When approached by our warship, the foreign fishing boats manoeuvred and escaped,” Edi said.

The warship chased after them and fired a warning shot, but the boats ignored it.

“Finally, after some warning shots, one of the 12 foreign fishing boats stopped,” the navy officer said.

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He added that after being stopped and checked, the vessel was discovered to be a Chinese boat with one women and six men as crew, all Chinese citizens.

Indonesia has recently strengthened its capability to defend its land and waters in the South China Sea, namely around the Natuna Islands, around which the country has declared an exclusive economic zone that overlaps China’s so-called “nine-dash line” maritime claim.

Indonesia currently has about 800 military personnel in the Natuna region. This year, the number will rise to about 2,000.

Indonesia protested against China’s nine-dash line map, with which China claims almost the entire South China Sea, when it was submitted to the United Nations in May 2009.

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Through diplomatic channels and notes, Indonesia has repeatedly sought clarification from China on the nine-dash line shown on a map published in 1947 by the then Republic of China to justify its claim to most of the South China Sea, but to no avail.

Although Indonesia is not a claimant state in the disputes over islands and reefs in the South China Sea, which mainly involve China, Vietnam and the Philippines, it has been warily monitoring China’s development of infrastructure there, including rigs and lighthouses, as well as its seismic surveys and fishing activities.