Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has sunk 556 illegal boats from October 2014 until present, including 21 foreign boats that the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry's Illegal Fishing Task Force (Satgas 115) destroyed in West Kalimantan's waters between Oct 4 and Oct 6, 2019.

Minister Susi Pudjiastuti revealed in a statement that ANTARA received here on Monday that 26 of the 556 illegal boats were Indonesian-flagged ones, while 321 Vietnamese, 91 Filipino, 87 Malaysian, 24 from Thailand, two of Papua New Guinea, three from China, and one each from Nigeria and Belize.

The foreign ships were sunk in line with the Law of Fishery and the judge's verdict on the crime committed by the boat operators, Pudjiastuti, who chaired the task force, stated.

The minister revealed that of the 21 foreign ships, 18 were sunk in the waters near Pontianak City, West Kalimantan Province, on Oct 6, while the three others were sunk on Oct 4 in Sambas, the province's westernmost district that shares its border with Malaysia.

Of the 21 foreign boats that were sunk, 16 were Vietnamese, while the two others were Malaysian.

Apart from these boats, the ministry had also planned to sink 19 other foreign boats in Belawan, Batam, and Natuna on Monday.

Since the minister assumed office in 2014, Pudjiastuti’s top program has entailed the sinking of foreign and local ships to clamp down on illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing in Indonesia's waters.

In spite of some high-ranking officials averring the minister's program as being ineffective, Pudjiastuti expounded that sinking the ships would deter the perpetrators. In mid-2019, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan had informed the press of his plan to review Pudjiastuti's measure to sink illegal fishing boats.

Translator: M Razi Rahman/Genta Tenri Mawa
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2019