We are the largest archipelagic country, and have resources in both energy and fish."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The annual international maritime event, Sail Indonesia, being dubbed as Sail Karimata Strait this year, is being implemented quite differently than its previous editions.

Hundreds of university students and some 300 scouts from 34 provinces across the country are actively involved in the organization of the Sail Karimata Strait.

They come from the Jakarta-based University of Indonesia, the Bogor University of Agriculture, the Bandung Institute of Technology, the Jakarta-based Trisakti University, the Yogyakarta-based University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) and the Banda Aceh-based Syiah Kuala University.

All of them have come together as Sail Karimata Strait task force, a group of some 2,000 people, including naval officers. The task forces are called Surya Bhaskara Jaya and Pelantara (Nusantara Circle Sailing), and the Nusantara Jaya expedition.

Surya Bhaskara Jaya Task Force aboard the Indonesian warship KRI Makassar-590, and Pelantara aboard KRI Surabaya-591 have been assigned in civic missions in Indonesian remote areas, prior to the peak event of Sail Karimata Strait.

They departed from the Tanjung Priok Seaport in North Jakarta on Sept. 22, and were seen off by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

"The involvement of the younger generation, the future of the nation, is expected to improve their awareness about the maritime wealth and potential of Indonesia," Luhut Pandjaitan said.

The minister called upon the participants to help promote Indonesia, which is one of the largest maritime nations in the world.

"We are the largest archipelagic country, and have resources in both energy and fish. These should be preserved because they are potential resources for Indonesia," he added.

The Sail Karimata Strait 2016 is also expected to help strengthen the unity of the nations youth.

"This is an opportunity to experience the feeling of unity and see the many dimensions of Indonesia. It is also expected to boost the spirit of maritime. The youth will come to know about the natural resources and the potential that Indonesia has," he told the students.

The task forces are heading toward Bangka Belitung, Tanjung Pinang, Ranai Tanjung, Pontianak, and finally to Kayong where the Sail Karimata peak event will be held on Datuk Islet beach, Sukadana, North Kayong, West Kalimantan Province, on October 15.

The main activities of the task forces civic missions include free medical services, state defense and territorial introduction.

The participants will sail around Indonesia and later gather in North Kayong in West Kalimantan Province for Sail Karimata Strait, confirmed Deputy IV in charge of Coordination of Human Resources, Science and Technology and Maritime Culture, Safri Burhanuddin.

Sail Karimata Strait 2016 is aimed at boosting the local economy through tourism.

The government has continued to renovate and build infrastructure, such as roads and other facilities, to support the event.

"North Kayong was earlier part of Ketapang. It was established 11 years ago, so the facility is still limited. Kayong, however, is most readily compared to other regions," he stated.

The preparations for the event, whose peak celebrations will be attended by President Joko Widodo, have been completed to the extent of 90 percent, he remarked.

"Some roads are still in bad condition, but we hope that by D-day minus 3 (Oct. 12), these will be fully repaired," he said.

Besides West Kalimantan, three other provinces---Riau Islands, Bangka Belitung and Jambi---will also host a series of Sail Indonesian activities.

The main activities will include a national seminar on maritime affairs to be organized in Jambi on August 25, 2016; Belitung festival on October 22; and Riau Islands Maritime Festival on October 28.

A series of activities to welcome the Sail Karimata Strait, however, had begun on June 1.

The 2016 edition of the Sail Karimata Strait will be the eighth since Sail Indonesia was held for the first time in 2009.

The previous Sail events were Sail Bunaken held in North Sulawesi in 2009, Sail Banda in Maluku in 2010, Sail Wakatobi-Belitung in Southeast Sulawesi and Bangka Balitung in 2011, Sail Morotai in North Maluku in 2012, Sail Komodo in East Nusa Tenggara in 2013, Sail Raja Ampat in West Papua in 2014, and Sail Tomini held in Central Sulawesi and Gorontalo Provinces in 2015.

Having a population of 1,400 people, Karimata Island is located on a strait situated between Kalimantan and Sumatera islands.

Karimata Island has a marine reserve covering a total area of 77 thousand hectares, and offers a striking under sea beauty still unknown to most divers.

The cluster consists of two large Islands, Karimata Island and Serutu Island, and several small fascinating islands, such as Kelumpang island, Buluh island, Belian island, Busung island, Segunug island, Genting island, Serugganing island and Kera island.

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2016