Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has detained three Vietnamese-flagged fishing vessels in the North Natuna waters for illegal fishing.

"The vessels were captured last December 30. The Vietnamese vessels are KG 95118 TS, with five Vietnamese crew members; KG 94629 TS, with 18 Vietnamese crew members; and KG 93255 TS, with 13 Vietnamese crew members," Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo stated in Sungai Kakap Sub-district of Kubu Raya District, West Kalimantan, on Thursday.

The ministry’s three patrol ships, in coordination with the Indonesian Navy and Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla), took part in the operation to catch the illegal fishers.

"The three Vietnamese-flagged vessels resisted the arrest that resulted in damage to the ministry's patrol ships. The Ocra 03 patrol ship suffered the worst-possible damage," Prabowo stated.

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The government has claimed that illegal fishing activities in the country's waters had inflicted losses to the tune of hundreds of trillions of rupiah a year to the state.

The war against illegal fishing activities has been spearheaded by former maritime and fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti with the support of other parties, especially the Indonesian Navy.

The government has also formed an Illegal Fishing Eradication Task Force (Task Force 115) to combat poaching in the Indonesian waters.

The Task Force 115 has synergized with other agencies and institutions in its operation.

The ministry had recently sunken 21 foreign fishing boats for poaching in Indonesian waters. In total, 41 foreign fishing boats were convicted of illegal fishing activities in the Indonesian waters. Several vessels have been sunken, while the rest will follow soon.

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Translator: Rendra Oxtora, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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