Indonesia strengthens surveillance mission in its waters

Indonesia strengthens surveillance mission in its waters

Illustration: Indonesian fishermen in Natuna, Riau Islands Province (ANTARA/Cherman)

The ministry would do its utmost to fulfil whatever assignments are mandated to it in securing the Indonesian waters from foreign vessels fishing illegally
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is closely coordinating with the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs amid China's ongoing violations in the Indonesian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the Natuna waters. The ministry would do its utmost to fulfil whatever assignments are mandated to it in securing the Indonesian waters from foreign vessels fishing illegally, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo told journalists in Jakarta Monday.

"We have been coordinating with the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs. Yesterday, instructions had been issued. We are going to get strengthened and this will involve all related ministries," he said.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry would conduct its tasks as per the given mandate proportionally, he said, adding that its surveillance mission would keep going ahead by involving those from the illegal fishing task force (Satgas 115).

Securing and safeguarding the country's territorial sovereignty is the main goal but Indonesia should not be provoked by other parties that attempt to disturb or claim the territory, Prabowo said.

"We must remain cool while responding to this matter. Of course, sovereignty is everything. We deploy our teams to conduct our surveillance mission. We have had the mechanism and rules of the game," he said.

In securing the Indonesian waters, including the ones near Natuna Islands in Riau Islands Province, his ministry's patrol vessels selectively check the foreign ships, he said adding that fishing vessels, would be captured.

The Chinese coast guard vessels and fishing boats repeatedly violate Indonesia's EEZ near the Natuna waters.

The Chinese vessels were found escorting tens of Chinese fishing boats to poach on Indonesia's EEZ near the Natuna waters on December 19 and December 24, 2019.

Indonesia would defend its sovereignty and would not negotiate with China in connection with the issues of Natuna waters, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD said earlier in response to this violation.

Related news: Indonesian fishers alliance to mobilize hundreds of boats to Natuna

Related news: No negotiation with China regarding Natuna: Mahfud MD


The rights of the waters near the Natuna Islands belong to Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), so there was no need for bilateral negotiations, he said Sunday, while referring to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Natuna waters belong to Indonesia so negotiation is not needed.

If the Indonesian Government puts this matter on the negotiation table, it means Jakarta indirectly admits that there is a dispute in this regard between the two countries, he added.

Regarding the recent violations by Chinese coast guard vessels in the Indonesian EEZ near the Natuna waters, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry has officially protested by summoning China's ambassador in Jakarta.

Over these past three years, the Chinese coast guard vessels have repeatedly violated Indonesia's EEZ rights.

In March 2016, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi had also lodged a protest with the Chinese Charge D'affaires in Jakarta, Sun Weide over Chinese coast guard violations in the Indonesian waters. (INE)

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