Batam (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) thwarted an attempt to smuggle lobster seeds worth approximately Rp19 billion (US$1.2 million) in Karimun Waters, Riau Islands Province, on Tuesday (October 24).

In a statement received in Batam, Riu Islands, on Wednesday, an official at Bakamla Lieutenant Colonel Yuli Prihartato remarked that a total of 123,082 lobster seeds were allegedly about to be smuggled to Malaysia via Karimun.

"Based on detailed calculations, the total number comprises 105,047 seeds of sand lobster (panulirus homarus), with a value of Rp15,757,050,000 (US$993 thousand) and 18,035 seeds of pearl lobster (panulirus ornatus) worth Rp3,607,000,000 (US$227.3 thousand)," he remarked.

Bakamla managed to thwart the smuggling attempt by collaborating with the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and the Riau Islands Customs Office.

Prihartato stated that follow-up measures were taken after Bakamla received information regarding an unidentified high-speed boat transporting several boxes that were allegedly containing lobster seeds spotted in Kuala Tungkal Waters, Jambi Province.

Following the information, Bakamla, Batam Naval Base, Riau Islands Customs, and TNI's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) decided to form a task force to conduct patrols at several locations passable by boat.

On Tuesday, at around 2 a.m. local time, the task force commenced the pursuit of the boat in waters near Geranting Island.

During the chase, the unidentified boat hit a rock and stopped for a while before managing to continue its attempt to escape.

The task force eventually succeeded in detaining the boat that carried 22 boxes of lobster seeds near Kepala Jerih Island.

"Currently, the perpetrators have been detained for further legal proceedings. To protect the lobster seeds, we released them in the waters east of Merak Karimun Island," Prihartato noted.

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Translator: Ilham Yude, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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