Indonesia Wants Other Nations to Honor its EEZ

Jakarta, 17 Ramadan 1437/22 Juni 2016 (MINA) – Indonesia wants other countries to honor its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and will treat ships conducting illegal fishing in its waters equally regardless of their origin country, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti stated.

“The EEZ and all its riches are the sovereignty of a country. Any deal on its exploitation must have the signatures of the involved countries,” Susi was quoted by Antara as saying at her office here on Tuesday.

Susi remarked that no single agreement on traditional fishing grounds had yet been signed with China, and so, Chinese ships conducting fishing in the area will be found guilty of violating the Indonesian laws.

The minister affirmed that Indonesia had, so far, only inked an agreement over traditional fishing grounds with Malaysia, and it was also limited to an area in the Malacca Strait.

Susi reminded that with regard to the international waters, all countries were bound by the UNCLOS, which had been ratified by almost all nations in the world.

The Indonesian foreign ministrys spokesman, Armanatha Nasir, noted in an explanation regarding the confiscation of a Chinese fishing vessel in Natuna waters on June 17 that at 4:24 a.m. local time, an Indonesia naval ship spotted 10 to 12 foreign fishing vessels in the Indonesian EEZ in Natuna.

Some of the boats found casting their nets were believed to be conducting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

On spotting the Navys ship, the vessels attempted to escape and were then chased by four naval ships. The Navys vessels used radio communication and loudspeakers to order the fishing vessels to stop, but their calls were ignored, and the Chinese vessels instead increased their speed.

After chasing for several hours, warning shots were fired, but they were also ignored. In a bid to flee the EEZ, several fishing vessels even maneuvered and almost hit a naval ship.

One of the fishing ships, bearing registration number 19038, was detained at 9:55 a.m. local time, and an onboard search revealed seven crew members, including a woman. They were all fine, and none of them were hurt. They were then taken to Sabang Mawang.

On the way to Sabang Mawang, a Chinese coastguard vessel intercepted the Indonesian naval ship, demanding the release of the fishing boat, but the request was declined. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)