The Indonesian navy on Sunday sunk two vessels from Thailand after the court confirmed on December 23 the ships’ involvement in illegal fishing in the waters off Anambas island in Riau Islands province.
Equipped with explosives, several personnel from the navy’s special force planted bombs inside the vessels before they detonated them from afar in Anambas waters, near the South China Sea.
It took only around five minutes for the vessels to sink.
The 70 gross ton (GT) MV Kour Son 77 was caught by the navy’s KRI Sutedi Senoputra on November 14 with six crew on board – 2 from Thailand, 3 from Myanmar and one from Laos.
Another vessel, KM G. Chawat 5, was seized by KRI Sultan Hasanuddin on December 11.
The 103 GT ship could not provide any legal documents to operate in Indonesian waters.
“As instructed by the president, the Navy has shown its strong commitment to sinking vessels involved in illegal fishing,” said Navy Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Widodo on Sunday.
Widodo said that the sinking was in line with Indonesia’s rule of law, which had been confirmed by a court verdict.
“With the quick verdict, we hope that it will deter foreign poachers from entering our territory,” he said.
Since taking office on October 20, president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has drawn the battle line in the war against poachers.
On December 5, three Vietnamese vessels were also sunk near Anambas, while on December 21, two vessels from Papua New Guinea were destroyed on the shore of Ambon, Maluku.
Despite the stern approach, critics have been vocal about the government’s lenient stance against illegal fishing involving Chinese vessels.
Since the fight against poachers intensified in late November, no Chinese vessels have been treated harshly by the government.