Govt must be consistent in sinking illegal fishing vessels: Academician

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has been urged to be consistent in its operations to sink foreign vessels found fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.

"The government should not hold back on its stern action to ensure that foreign fishing ships do not get a chance to return to Indonesian waters," Professor Salim Said of the Defense University said on Friday.

Said was responding to the move implemented by the government to explode, and thereby sink, foreign vessels found poaching fish in Indonesian waters.

He expressed hope that the government shows its consistency by increasing the number of naval ships and the funding for fuel for the warships. It would be useless to possess naval ships for the operation if they cannot be deployed due to shortage of fuel.

"Indonesia has regulated the sinking of foreign illegal ships in its law. Foreign vessels can be sunk to teach them a lesson for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters," Said added.

The professor further noted that he appreciated the move by the government, which has taken strong actions against foreign boats that poached fish in Indonesian waters. The government should not allow illegal fishing to be carried out in its waters, he emphasized.

He also pointed out that every country has laws and regulations that have to be abided by. The country where the poachers hail from cannot intervene in Indonesian law, he explained.

"For example, if an Indonesian citizen faces beheading in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia cannot intervene. It cannot force Saudi Arabia to follow Indonesias law," Said stated.

The Indonesian Navy on Friday sank at least three Vietnamese fishing vessels that entered Indonesian waters and carried out illegal fishing.

"We had been planning the drowning operation since Friday morning. Three fishing ships were going to be sunk. They were all from Vietnam," the Head of Information Office of the Indonesian Navy, First Admiral Manahan Simorangkir, was quoted as saying by local online media here on Friday.

Simorangkir stated that the ships had been detained and confiscated by the Indonesian government.

He told www.kompas.com that the efforts were aimed at deterring foreign fishermen from poaching fish illegally in Indonesian waters.

"We believe that the sinking efforts fit with Indonesian laws and regulations. Neighboring countries will understand our efforts and the operation will not affect Indonesias relations with other countries. It will be fine," Simorangkir affirmed.

According to the local online media, the navy sank the ships in the waters of Anambas in Riau Islands on Friday afternoon.

Several officials, including the Chief of the Western Indonesian Fleet Command, the Navy Main Base Commander, and the Chief of the Indonesian Military Information Center, monitored the sinking operation, Tribun Batam reported.

Furthermore, the navys elite Frogmen Command set up several explosives in advance.

President Joko Widodo ordered the Indonesian Military and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti to sink illegal fishing vessels that are caught poaching in Indonesian waters.(*)

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