"All 48 crew members of the impounded ships are Vietnamese," Director General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Resources Control Asep Burhanudin said here on Friday.
He added that the four ships were caught red-handed while they were poaching fish in Indonesian waters without securing the necessary documents from the Indonesian government.
The Vietnamese fishing ships were charged with violating article 93 paragraph (2) adj. article 27 paragraph (2) of law number 45/2009 as amended by law number 31/2004 on fisheries. If found guilty, the crew members can be sentenced to six years in jail and fined up to Rp20 billion.
The crew members of the four fishing vessels were escorted by Hiu Macan 001 ship to the West Kalimantan provincial capital of Pontianak, for further questioning.
Earlier, the Indonesian Traditional Fishermens Association (KNTI) had admitted that the severe punishment meted out to fish thieves in Indonesian waters was an effective way to curb fish thefts.
"The measure will serve as a good deterrent," KNTI Chief M. Riza Damanik had affirmed on Wednesday (July 8).(*)