Indonesia deploys seven warships to Natuna

Indonesia deploys seven warships to Natuna

Indonesian Navy warships (archaive/ANTARA FOTO/Basri Marzuki)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Navy has sent seven warships to the Natuna waters in the Sumatran province of Riau Islands to safeguard the countrys territorial waters.

"This is a routine patrol program carried out by the navy to safeguard Natuna waters. Moreover illegal fishing activities have also often happened in the region," Navy spokesman Commodore M Zainudin said when asked for confirmation about the deployment here on Sunday.

He denied that it was done to anticipate the escalation of the situation in South China Sea.

"We are not involved in the conflict in South China Sea. We only safeguard our sovereignty and NKRI (Unitary State of Indonesia) defense," he said.

He said not all of the seven ships would be stationed in the Natuna waters. "Only three ships would standby in the Natuna waters while the four others would be in Tanjung Uban naval base. They will in turn conduct patrols," he said.

He said the Indonesian navy conducts patrol everyday with regard to safeguard its sovereignty and defense in the eastern as well as western regions involving more than 40 war ships.

"In the Indonesian eastern region we deploy more than 20 ships to safeguard Ambalat, Arafuru Sea and others while in the western region there are 20 ships safeguarding the Malacca Strait, Natuna waters and others," he said.

Navy chief of staff Admiral Ade Supandi also confirmed that the deployment of the ships in Natuna was only for patrol purposes.

"It is a routine operation. We conduct patrols for 365 days to safeguard borders as well as for sea justice enforcement in Natuna waters, Sulawesi or Indian Ocean including coordination patrols carried out in cooperation with neighboring countries," he said.