Indonesia assures safety of detained chinese fishing boat crew

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has assured that eight Chinese fishing boat crew, detained after they were found poaching fish in Natuna waters recently, will be safe.

"We will treat them well but investigation will continue," the countrys Minister of Marine Resources and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, said in a press release issued by her office and received here on Tuesday.

She said the eight crew members would undergo the legal process as per the countrys law.

The government, she said, would also abide by international laws since the detainees belong to another country. "We will send them home after all the procedures are complete," she said.

The Chinese fishing boat caught poaching fish in the Indonesian waters was not the first case of its kind. Similar instances also happened in 2013 in Natuna waters and in 2014 in eastern Indonesian waters.

A Chinese fishing boat was detected by Marine Resource and Fisheries Ministrys (KKP) patrol boat Hiu 11, poaching fish in the Natuna waters in the Sumatra province of Riau Islands on Saturday (March 19).

At 14.15 hours, the Chinese boat Kway Fei 10078 was detected at five degrees north latitude and 109 degrees east longitude, falling in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone.

Since the vessel was in violation of norms, Hiu 11 chased it and fired warning shots but the Chinese vessel tried to escape by making zigzag maneuvers.

At around 15.00 hours, the Chinese vessel could be stopped and KKP officers boarded the ship and arrested the eight crew members.

When the ship was being taken by KKP officers, suddenly a Chinese coastguard ship came and hit Kway Fey, thus ensuring that the boat cannot be brought ashore.

To avoid a clash, KKP officers left the Chinese boat and returned to Hiu 11 along with the eight crew members of the Chinese vessel.

Minister Susi was angry upon hearing the incident. "I will strongly protest and will send a diplomatic note," she told newsmen at a press conference at her official residence here on Sunday.

A day after that, she deplored the Chinese claim that their boat was fishing in their traditional fishing ground.

"That claim is wrong, baseless and not recognized by the international world," she said.

She said no traditional fishing ground in Natuna is recognized by international laws, including the Convention of the Law of the Sea.

reporting by muhammad razi rahman
T.M040 (H-YH)
EDITED BY INE
(T.SYS/B/KR-BSR/A014)

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