Indonesia to Blow Up 30 More Illegal Foreign Vessels

The country’s fisheries minister says preparations are under way for another round of sinkings.

Indonesia to Blow Up 30 More Illegal Foreign Vessels
Credit: Flickr/JenJoaquin

Indonesia is set to sink 30 more foreign vessels caught illegally fishing in its waters, the country’s fisheries minister said Monday.

As I’ve written previously, Indonesia under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has launched a tough crackdown on illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, which he says causes the country to suffer annual losses of over $20 billion (See: “Explaining Indonesia’s ‘Sink the Vessels’ Policy Under Jokowi”).

That has resulted in a series of highly public sinking of boats from neighboring countries through 2016 – part of what Jokowi has described as a “shock therapy” approach in spite of concerns among some of Indonesia’s neighbors. In April, Indonesia destroyed 23 foreign vessels, most of them from Malaysia and Vietnam (See: “Indonesia Sinks 23 Foreign Vessels After China Spat”).

On Monday, Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said that the government will continue its tough action against illegal fishing by sinking 30 vessels.

“Indonesia will not compromise with and will be very tough in taking action against and in arresting foreign vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. The violation committed by the 30 vessels is illegal fishing,” she told reporters on the deck of an Indonesian Maritime Surveillance Agency vessel, according to The Jakarta Post.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Susi said that the schedule for the sinking was being arranged by authorities. No further details were provided as to which countries the vessels would be from. However, a separate Post report said that one of the vessels would be from China, with most of the rest from Vietnam and Thailand.

According to the latest available data from Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, most of the vessels sunk so far have come from Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. The Jokowi government been more hesitant about sinking vessels from China, although the first was sunk last May (See: “Indonesia Sinks First Vessel From China Under Jokowi”).