Indonesian authorities sank 23 foreign fishing boats on Tuesday (Apr 5), saying they were "operating illegally in the archipelago's vast waters in continuation efforts for anti-poaching", China's Xinhua news agency reported.
Indonesian coast guard authorities blew up 23 foreign vessels this week after charging them with fishing illegally in the country’s waters, bringing the number of vessels destroyed by the Government under the policy to more than 170.
Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said her agency sank 10 Malaysian and 13 Vietnamese boats that were caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.
“The sinking of the boats is to enforce the law and to protect the sovereignty of our territory to ensure that the sea is the future of our nation,” Ms Pudjiastuti was quoted as saying by Kompas.
Last August, Indonesia scuttled 38 boats seized for illegal fishing as part of the country’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.
Meanwhile, the owners of 10 fishing boats from China caught poaching in Indonesian waters are appealing to the authorities not to sink their vessels.
Indonesia and China were entangled in a maritime row last month after Indonesia accused
a Chinese coast guard
patrol boat of breaching its sovereign rights by forcibly preventing the local maritime authorities from seizing a Chinese fishing boat.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, has taken a tough stance against illegal fishing since President Joko Widodo took
office in 2014,with his administration blowing up dozens of foreign vessels as part of a campaign to protect Indonesia’s maritime resources and domestic fishing industry, which loses billions of dollars in revenues to illegal fishing each year.