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Indonesian police to sink Vietnamese vessel in Papuan waters

wpapua Gunboat-diplomacy JP 425wide

Gunboat diplomacy … Indonesian navy sailors keep an eye on a Vietnamese fishing vessel after it was destroyed for illegally operating in Indonesian waters in the Riau Islands, last month. Image: Jakarta Post

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Nethy Dharma Somba in Jayapura

Indonesian  police in West Papua have said they will sink a Vietnamese-flagged fishing vessel named the KM Thank Cong, which they caught allegedly poaching in the province’s waters earlier this month.

“The police will not give up their fight against illegal fishing perpetrators in West Papua. The Vietnamese fishermen proven guilty of stealing our resources will be brought to justice in the hope that this can have a deterrent effect,” West Papua police chief Brigaduer-General Paulus Waterpauw told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

“We have coordinated with prosecutors for special measures to be taken to sink the foreign vessel,” he said.

Waterpauw directly monitored the handling of the Vietnamese fishing vessel docked at Waisai Port in Raja Ampat, West Papua.

The vessel’s captain and crew are reported to have been questioned at Raja Ampat police precinct office.

Twelve people, all Vietnamese citizens, were on board the KM Thank Cong when it was seized.

Of the 12, two have been named suspects. They are Nguyen Trong Nhan, 44, the vessel’s captain, and Nguyen Than Minh, 43, a crew member. The remaining 10 are still under investigation.

Suspects accused
The two suspects are accused of having violated several articles stipulated in Law No.45/2009 on fisheries, in reference to Law No.31/2004 on fisheries, with a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a Rp 2 billion (US$160,290.6) fine.

Waterpauw said the police sinking of the vessel would be based on Article 69 (4) of the 2009 Fisheries Law.

“We will not play games. We are ensuring that our sea resources are protected,” he said.

The police chief said during the arrest that officers had found 2100 kg of shark fins, 45 dead turtles, five dead mantas, 586 manta fins, one vessel document in Vietnamese language, a gill net, and 3.5 kg of formalin powder to preserve fish.

Nethy Dharma Somba is a reporter with the Jakarta Post.

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