"The actions of the Malaysian patrol boat and helicopter that trespassed into the Indonesian territory can be categorized as a violation of sovereignty and obstruction of justice."
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Marine and Fisheries Affairs Ministry urged the Foreign Affairs Ministry to lodge an official protest with Malaysia after its patrol ship trespassed into Indonesian waters and intercepted the impounding of Malaysian-flagged illegal fishing vessels.

"The actions of the Malaysian patrol boat and helicopters trespassing into the Indonesian territory can be characterized as having violated the nation’s sovereignty and posed a hindrance in the path of justice. They attempted to come in the way of (Indonesia's patrol boats) KP Hiu 08 and KP Hiu Macan Tutul 02 while they were conducting their duties in line with article 73 of the UNCLOS and article 66C of Law No. 45 of 2009 on fisheries," the ministry's acting Director General of Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance Agus Suherman said here on Thursday.

Suherman reported that the ministry's patrol ship KP Hiu 08 had seized two Malaysian-flagged illegal fishing vessels in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Straits of Malacca on Apr 3 along with Thai and Cambodian crew members.

Both Malaysian fishing ships had no license to operate in Indonesian waters and had used trawls barred in the country.

The two vessels were thereafter escorted to the ministry's surveillance station in Belawan for further legal proceedings. While heading to the station, a Malaysian marine boat -- Penggalang 13 -- approached KP Hiu 08, which was still operating in the Indonesian waters, and requested the Indonesian officers to release the Malaysian fishing boats.

Three Malaysian helicopters were seen hovering over the Indonesian patrol ship KP Hiu 08 at the time of the incident.

However, the Indonesian officers paid no heed to their request.

On Apr 9, Indonesian patrol ship KP Hiu Macan Tutul 02 seized two illegal fishing boats and escorted them to its base in Batam.

A Malaysian-flagged illegal fishing boat, carrying five Myanmarese crew members, had used trawl equipment during its operation, whereas another boat, with four Myanmar crew members, had no flag.

During the time when the two fishing boats were being taken to Batam, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (APMM’s) helicopter was spotted circling over the Indonesian patrol ship, and resorted to radio communication to make a request to set free the Malaysian ship. That request that was denied by the Indonesian officers.

"We hope that the Malaysian government would take the requisite steps to prevent such illegal fishing activities in Indonesian waters conducted by Malaysian vessels," Suherman emphasized.

To thwart such occurrences, the ministry, in cooperation with the Indonesian Navy and Indonesian Maritime Security Agency, will step up patrolling activities in Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Straits of Malacca.

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Translator: M Razi, Sri Haryati
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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