The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s Illegal Fishing Task Force (Satgas 115) recently sunk three foreign vessels captured for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters off Belawan, Medan, North Sumatra.

The Malaysian-flagged, Myanmar-flagged and Thai-flagged vessels, were sunk on Saturday following three separate arrests by the ministry’s Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance Director General (PSDKP) and the North Sumatra Water Police between August and December last year.

Satgas 115 deputy chief Yunus Husein said the vessels had been seized as evidence of illegal fishing practices in the country’s waters. In 2019 alone, courts ordered 51 vessels to be sunk for the crime.

“We have sunk 503 vessels for operating illegally by May 9, 2019, and we will continue to carry out this activity,” Yunus said.

The government, he said, was very committed to upholding the law and deterring illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, particularly by foreign ships.

Authorities have also named Thai national Suthar Maumodi and Myanmar national Ayung Nain Win suspects for alleged illegal fishing in the case. (afr)