Indonesia seizes two boats off Aceh for illegal fishing

An Acehnese man transporting fish at Lampulo port in Banda Aceh. Two vessels were detained by the Indonesian navy on Sunday for alleged illegal fishing in Indonesian waters off Aceh province.
An Acehnese man transporting fish at Lampulo port in Banda Aceh. Two vessels were detained by the Indonesian navy on Sunday for alleged illegal fishing in Indonesian waters off Aceh province.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KUALA LUMPUR • The Indonesian navy has detained two vessels that flew the Malaysian flag, for allegedly fishing illegally in Indonesian waters off its Aceh province.

A spokesman for the Indonesian naval base Lantamal I in Belawan town in North Sumatra, Major Sahala Sinaga, said 10 crew members from Myanmar were detained in the Sunday incident, in the Strait of Malacca.

He added that a navy patrol boat approached the two vessels - KHF 1785 and FKPB 1781 - in different locations after they had entered Indonesian waters.

The vessels were using trawl nets to fish, he noted.

"Both vessels were caught when fishing near Aceh Tamiang," said Mr Sahala, adding that the boats were caught by the Western Fleet Quick Response Team on Lantamal I.

Indonesia, in recent years, has strictly enforced its maritime borders against illegal fishing, saying this has in turn boosted fish stocks for its fishermen. Jakarta has blown up more than 220 foreign boats caught fishing in its waters since the end of of 2014.

Mr Sahala claimed that the two vessels were carrying drugs that were thrown overboard before the boats were boarded by the Indonesian navy. "We suspect that the drugs were thrown into the water, considering that the route they were using is a known entry point for drug smuggling," he added.

THE JAKARTA POST/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesia seizes two boats off Aceh for illegal fishing'. Print Edition | Subscribe