Indonesia sinks 8 Malaysian vessels for illegal fishing
Indonesian officials hope action 'will have deterrent effect on foreign ships'
Indonesia sank eight Malaysian-flagged vessels this week for fishing in its exclusive economic zone, authorities said on Friday.
Six boats were sunk by the Belawan District Prosecutor’s Office in North Sumatra on March 16.
“We hope this will have a deterrent effect on foreign ships,” Ikeu Bachtiar, head of the prosecutor’s office, said in a written statement on Friday.
Two more fishing vessels were destroyed by the Banda Aceh District Prosecutor's Office on Thursday.
The vessels were sunk at the Kuturaja port in Banda Aceh.
“The fishing vessels are evidences of a criminal act in the field of fisheries by a foreign-flagged fishing vessel that has permanent legal force,” Leonard Eben Ezer Simanjuntak, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said in a statement on Thursday evening.
The two boats were confiscated by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in 2019 for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters without valid permit documents and using fishing gear prohibited by Indonesia.
Their crew members -- all of them Thai citizens -- were arrested and their captains, Surriyon Jannok and Winai Bunpichit, have been convicted.
Indonesia has sunk more than 550 vessels related to illegal fishing between October 2014 to 2020.
The penalty for illegal fishing under Indonesian law is a maximum jail term of six years and a fine of up to 20 billion Indonesian rupiahs ($1.3 million).
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita with Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language services in Jakarta