Sinking foreign fishing vessels in line with law: Observer

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The controversy has continued over the decision of Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan to stop sinking foreign fishing vessels found operating illegally in Indonesian water.

The law rules the sinking of foreign fishing vessels poaching in Indonesian water, law observer from the University of Bung Karno Azmi Syahputra said.

“The sinking of foreign fishing vessels operating illegally in Indonesian water is on order of the law . It is in line with the fishery law,” Azmi said here on Thursday.

Luhut has said there would be no ship sinking in 2018 as the government wants to focus more on increasing fish production to boost exports. Foreign fishing vessels found operating illegally in Indonesian waters would be confiscated for the state.

Ship sinking is not entirely disallowed as a special sanction on certain offense of the law, he said.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla spokes in favor of the decision of Luhut saying the policy sinking poachers ships was enough.

“It is time the government to focus on increasing fish production, which has declined over the past three years. We dont have to destroy the ships. We could use them. The country needs many fishing ships,” Kalla said.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti apparently not happy with the decision of the Coordinating Minister, refused to comment .

“No comment, no comment,” Susi said to reporters crowding around her in Benoa, Bali on Wednesday.

Under Susi the Marine and Fisheries Ministry backed up by the navy and water police have exploded and sunk more than 300 fishing vessels found poaching in Indonesian waters over the past three years.

Azmi said apart from being an execution of the law order the ship sinking would strengthen the state authority and sovereignty over the countrys sea territory .

In addition, the measure is to clearly show that Indonesia is determined in its law enforcement in the sea, he said.

Earlier, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) urged Minister Susi to focus more on industrialization of the fishery sector in cooperation with the private sector.

“It has been three years over with our seas abundant with fish, but the wealth has been left untapped,” deputy chairman of Kadin Andi Rukman Karumpa said here .

Andi said the world already knows the country is determined to protect its fish resources but what does it means if the wealth was not used for the welfare of the country.

He called on the minister to start focusing more on increasing fish production and launching industrialization of the fishery sector through cooperation with the private sector.

Andi said he agreed with the governments decision to stop ship sinking and that ships found operating illegally in Indonesian waters should be confiscated for the state.

“The era of marketing has been over. The ships would be more useful if they are given to fishermen instead of sending them to the sea bed. They are good and modern vessels,” he said.

Source: ANTARA News