Indonesia Sinks 60 Fishing Boats on Independence Day

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 18, 2016

 Susi Pudjiastuti. Photo: Maritime and Fisheries Ministry, Indonesia

Susi Pudjiastuti. Photo: Maritime and Fisheries Ministry, Indonesia

 On Wednesday, Indonesian Independence Day, the southeast Asian country  sank 60 vessels – 58 foreign boats and two domestic vessels –  it captured for unlawfully fishing in its territorial waters.

 
The government said the action marked Indonesia's commitment to "enforcing the law" amid attempts to stop foreign fishermen from "stealing" from its waters.
 
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the ships were sunk at eight locations across the Indonesian archipelago.
 
But unlike past boat-sinking events, which were broadcast on national television, yesterday's ceremony was markedly toned down, with officials barring media coverage. They have also refused to disclose the vessels' countries of origin.
 
"I think it is already quite a strong message [to foreign countries and their fishing fleets]," Pudjiastuti told journalists on Wednesday, as quoted by The Jakarta Post.
 
Pudjiastuti has organized the destruction of more than 200 illegal fishing boats since 2014. The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need for Indonesia to show its neighbours, including China, that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.
 
Since elected, Jokowi has intensified a campaign to exercise Indonesia's maritime sovereignty, and has blown up and sunk scores of foreign vessels.
 
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