BATAM, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian National Police has announced that two Vietnamese fishing ships caught by the Water Police Unit [Polairud] on the North Natuna Sea off the Riau Islands province last Sunday showed the extent of illegal fishing by foreign ships there.
“The two vessels’ poaching operations cost Indonesia more than Rp. 400 billion [$27,639,560.00], over two decades,” said Polairud Security Maintenance Agency [Baharkam] Director Brigadier General M. Yassin Kosasi in a press release dated Wednesday, March 24.
He added that one of the ships, the trawler BV 4419 TS, illegally caught the fish. The second vessel, the DUC LOI 6/ BL 93333 TS, stored the catch. Yassin asserted that investigators confiscated more than 500 tons of fish and fishing equipment as evidence.
“The Vietnamese captain of the trawler BV 4419 TS, Tian Hiiny Dung, admitted to poaching fish on the North Natuna Sea, for over the past 20 years. His accomplice, DUC LOI 6/ BL 93333 TS skipper Nguyen Ngok Sang, has been operating in the same area for six years.”
Yassin noted that the ships operated shrewdly in Indonesian waters.
“The BV 4419 TS would enter Indonesian waters at night, then leave before dawn to avoid [Indonesian] patrol boats. The vessels’ nocturnal operations also kept it from being detected by local fishermen,” Yassin said.
“[Tian] also disguised his ship as an Indonesian fishing boats, to allay the suspicions of Indonesian fishermen. He would then rendezvous with the captain of fish storage vessels on the outskirts of Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ], before continuing their poaching.”
The two ships are charged for violating laws on fisheries enacted in 2004 and the Jobs Creation law passed in 2020. If found guilty, they face between three to six years in jail and Rp. 1.2 to 3 billion [$82,976-$207,468.16] in fines.