"In the second year of my ministerial term, I will strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations," Minister of Marine and Fishery Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) instructed to partly blow up FV Viking, so the other part could be turned into a monument to serve as a reminder of the fight against illegal fishing activities.

Jokowi decided to make FV Viking a monument as the foreign fishing ship had poached fish in the waters of several countries and had managed to evade arrest until the Indonesian Navy was finally able to capture it.

"For years, 13 countries had been on the lookout for FV Viking, a ship that had poached fish in several countries. Indonesia has managed to catch it - Jkw," President Jokowi tweeted on his Twitter account @jokowi on March 14.

The FV Viking vessel had allegedly violated some international laws and conventions and had committed fraud by conducting illegal fishing practices.

Earlier, Minister of Marine and Fishery Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti had revealed that according to the Norwegian Interpol, the fugitive vessel had changed its name 13 times and had used 12 different flags, thus the ship was designated as a stateless vessel.

The vessel was intercepted by a joint Indonesian Navy team in the waters of Tanjung Berakit of Bintan District of Riau Islands Province on Feb. 25.

Commander of the Naval base Lantamal IV/Tanjung Pinang Marine Colonel (P) S. Irawan stated that the Navys Warship KRI Sultan Toha Saifuddin-376 and a Helicopter Bolco NP 408 were deployed as part of the operations.

The authorities arrested eleven crew members of the ship belonging to countries, such as Myanmar, Argentina, Peru, and Indonesia.

The boss or head of FV Viking was identified as a Burmese, Irawan added.

The Indonesian authorities destroyed part of the ship in the waters of Pangandaran in West Java on March 14.

On March 5, six Vietnamese vessels were detained by the Indonesian Navy for allegedly conducting illegal fishing in the Natuna waters of Riau Islands Province.

The six vessels were spotted by Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin STS-376 Navy Warship in the northern waters of Sekatung Island, Natuna Islands, Commander of Naval Base IV/Tanjungpinang Marine Colonel (P) S. Irawan stated on March 8.

The six vessels are KM Bulan 029/BV0397TS, KM Bulan 030/BV0411TS, KM Bulan 042/BT Th99121TS, KM Sinar 606/TG93666, KM Sinar 265/BV4889TS, and KM Sinar 267/BV95441TS.

The vessels were detected by the Navys radar while they were conducting fishing in the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of Indonesia.

The STS-376 warship then escorted the six ships to the Sebang Mawang Ranai naval base. Besides trespassing into Indonesias EEZ, the vessels were also caught fishing illegally without any legal documents.

Recently, the Indonesian sea security authorities also caught three Malaysian fishing vessels off East Aceh.

The three boats, all under Thai skippers, were escorted by the sea security patrol boat to Langsa, where they were moored for further investigation.

Earlier, this year, the ministrys patrol boats detained several Malaysian fishing boats: two on March 10, three on March 3, and one on February 26.

Indonesia has been taking stringent steps in line with the trend of sustainable fisheries management policies, including the efforts to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.

The government claimed that the country had lost hundreds of trillions of rupiah a year due to illegal fishing in its waters.

Since October 2014, Indonesia has sunk 151 foreign ships caught conducting illegal fishing practices in the countrys waters, Minister Pudjiastuti revealed recently.

The ships involved in IUU fishing that were sunk comprised 50 vessels from Vietnam, 43 from the Philippines, 21 from Thailand, 20 from Malaysia, two from Papua New Guinea, and one from China.

The government has also sunk 14 Indonesian-flagged ships involved in IUU fishing.

Despite the governments policy to detonate and sink illegal foreign fishing vessels, the authority still encounters vessels trespassing into Indonesian waters and conducting poaching activities.

Pudjiastuti affirmed that she will take steps to strengthen bilateral and multilateral ties to intensify the fight against illegal fishing activities.

"In the second year of my ministerial term, I will strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations," she said during the Indonesian and Belgian Maritime Conference in Jakarta, March 16.

The international cooperation is crucial since illegal fishing activities have become transnational crimes.

"IUU fishing is a serious matter and is not only the enemy of Indonesia but also the world. Therefore, all countries agree that it should be eradicated completely," Minister Pudjiastuti emphasized.

She cited the success of stopping FV Viking as an example of the effectiveness of international cooperation and coordination.

FV Viking had committed organized international crimes that had undermined the sovereignty of several countries, she added.

"Support and cooperation from Singapore and Thailand, where FV Viking had frequently docked, was crucial to disclose the real owner of FV Viking," she emphasized.

FV Viking was categorized as an illegal fishing ship by the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

In the meantime, Rear Admiral Arie Soedewo, the new head of the Sea Security Agency (Bakamla), has pledged to take steps in line with President Jokowis instructions to stamp out smuggling and illegal fishing from Indonesias waters.

"I will function as a bulldozer for the president and Madam Susi at sea to fight against smuggling and illegal fishing activities," he stated on March 18.

Soedewo was installed as the new Bakamla chief by President Jokowi on March 16.(*)

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2016