Fisheries Minister Edhy detains more trespassing foreign ships

Minister Marine Affairs and Fisheries Edhy Prabowo. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO – The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishery has seized two Philippine ships for illegal fishing in our waters. Minister Marine Affairs and Fishery Edhy Prabowo said that the capture of Philippine ships numbered VMC-188 and LB VIENT-21 was the result of the Orca 04 Patrol Ship operation on Thursday (01/10/2020) in Fishery Management Region (Wilayah Pengelolaan Perikanan – “WPP”) 717 in the Pacific Ocean. “One was a large 105.90 GT ship using a purse seine, while the other was a 20.62 GT light boat,” Minister Edhy stated in a virtual press conference held in Jakarta on Tuesday (06/10/2020). 

The Minister further reported that the apprehension of foreign ships in our part of the Pacific Ocean was not the first such event since he came into office. He explained that the modus operandi and movements of illegal fishing boats are highly dynamic: thefts continue to occur even during the pandemic. “As we concentrate our patrols in the Sulawesi Sea, they move towards the Pacific Ocean. Alhamdulillah, praised be Allah, our staff in the Directorate General of Marine and Fishery Resource Monitoring (Direktorat Jenderal Pengawasan Sumber Daya Kelautan dan Perikanan – “Ditjen PSDKP”) detected them neatly. We need to appreciate the rapid efficiency of our teams at sea,” he said. 

Minister Edhy stated that even though the Ministry has a limited number of ships in its armada, it can still monitor the seas optimally. Following this seizure, the Ministry will intensify its actions in other parts of our waters, including WPP 718 in the Arafura Sea. During his one year in office, the Ministry, through Ditjen PSDKP has interdicted 74 boats allegedly engaged in illegal fishing. This policy differs from that of a rather stricter one implemented by Susi Pudjiastuti, the previous minister, who was famous for sinking foreign ships for theft of our fish. Minister Edhy prefers to repurpose the captured ships, assigning them to fishery schools in Indonesia. “During my one year in office – it will be one year on 22 October – I have captured 74 illegal fishing boats, 57 of them foreign ones. Of these foreign ships, we have captured 56 intact and only sank one because they resisted arrest,” he said. “These trespassers are comprised of 27 Vietnamese ships, 16 Philippine ships, 13 Malaysian ships, and 1 Taiwanese ship. We succeeded in these captures because of the persistence of our patrol teams, who are supported by modern technology and coordination with other agencies, including the Water and Air Police Force (Polisi Air dan Udara – “Polairud”), the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Badan Keamanan Laut – “Bakamla”), and naturally, the Indonesian Navy. The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishery will remain serious in maintaining the sovereignty and management of fisheries in Indonesia. There is no room for fish thieves in our seas.” 

As for the remaining ships: “17 of them have been brought to trial and a final judgment was made. 4 ships are in the middle of appeals, 22 are being tried, 1 ship was handed over to the Attorney General’s Office, and 2 ships are undergoing Stage 1 of P21. 7 ships are being investigated, and 5 are in the middle of initial inspection. We have imposed administrative sanctions on 5 Indonesian flag carriers. Domestic violators tend to be captured for using illegal equipment. There are two things that we cannot tolerate: one, destructive fishing, and two, smuggling, particularly narcotics smuggling,” the Minister said. (dan)