The patrol ships — Hiu 16 and Hiu 17 — will be deployed for routine patrols in the Malacca Strait and North Natuna Sea, director of fleet monitoring and operations at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, Pung Nugroho Saksono, said.
"These are our fastest ships at the moment. They can reach 29 knots," he informed at the inauguration of the Hiu 16 patrol ship in Batam, Riau Islands province on Tuesday.
The patrol ships have been fitted with drones to document efforts related to interception, security checks, and detention, besides other sophisticated and modern equipment, he said.
The Hiu 16 and Hiu 17 patrol vessels have been designed by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and built by PT Palindo Marine Batam, he added.
Indonesia's exclusive economic zone near the Natuna waters and its territorial waters remains vulnerable to IUU fishing activities.
In early 2020, for instance, Indonesian naval ships detected a number of Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels in the Indonesian EEZ near Natuna waters.
They drove the Chinese fishing boats out of the Indonesian EEZ while they were attempting to spread their fishing nets.
Over the past few years, the Natuna waters have drawn the attention of national and international media, with Chinese coast guard vessels and fishing boats repeatedly violating Indonesian EEZ rights.
On December 19 and December 24, 2019, Chinese vessels were found escorting scores of Chinese fishing boats to poach in Indonesia's EEZ near the Natuna waters.
In August, 2020, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry detained two Vietnamese-flagged fishing vessels for illegally poaching in the Indonesian Territorial Waters and Fisheries Management Area 711 in Northern Natuna.
The ministry's Hiu 03 patrol ship, led by Ardiansyah Pamuji, stripped the vessels that were allegedly conducting fishing activities by using pair trawl gear.
The first ship was headed by Lam Van Tung and manned by 17 Vietnamese crew members, while the second ship was headed by Lam Van Toan and had five Vietnamese crew members on board. (INE)
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