In­done­sia to sink scores of boats in fishing feud

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IN­DONE­SIA will sink up to 71 im­pounded for­eign boats this month on its In­de­pen­dence Day, a min­is­ter said yes­ter­day, ramp­ing up a cam­paign to de­ter il­le­gal fishing in its vast wa­ters.

The world’s big­gest ar­chi­pel­ago na­tion has long been seek­ing to stop for­eign ves­sels fishing with­out per­mis­sion in its ter­ri­tory, with Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo claim­ing it costs the econ­omy bil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally.

So far 176 for­eign boats cap­tured fishing il­le­gally have been sunk – after the crews were re­moved – since Mr Wi­dodo took power in 2014, with some blown up in spec­tac­u­lar pub­lic dis­plays.

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Susi Pud­ji­as­tuti, who has been lead­ing the cam­paign, said up to 71 for­eign boats caught il­le­gally fishing would be sunk on Au­gust 17, the 71st an­niver­sary of In­done­sian In­de­pen­dence.

She said that they would be sunk at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across the coun­try, with­out spec­i­fy­ing which coun­tries the boats were from.

Boats from a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, Thai­land, Viet­nam, the Philippines and Malaysia, have al­ready been sunk as part of the cam­paign.

The boats to be sunk later this month will be scut­tled and not blown up, Pud­ji­as­tuti said. Green groups had com­plained about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of blow­ing up boats.

The plan comes at a time of high mar­itime ten­sions be­tween Bei­jing and Jakarta after re­peated clashes in wa­ters around In­done­sian is­lands in the hotly dis­puted South China Sea.

Photo: AFP

An il­le­gal fishing boat is blown up with ex­plo­sives by In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties in Kuala Langsa, Aceh prov­ince in April.

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