JAKARTA (dpa) – President Joko Widodo on Tuesday defended the government’s decision to sink foreign boats caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters, saying it was a necessary deterrent.
The Indonesian navy on Friday sunk three boats after detaining their Vietnamese crews, accusing them of poaching, the state Antara news agency said.
The boats were among 155 foreign vessels seized in the new government’s crackdown on illegal fishing.
“I ask the foreign minister to explain that this is a purely criminal issue and has nothing to do with neighbourly relations,” Joko said.
Joko, who assumed office in October, has vowed to make Indonesia a global maritime power and his Fisheries Minister Susi Pujiastuti has warned that foreign boats caught fishing illegally will be scuppered.
Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has warned Indonesia to abide by maritime agreements signed by the two governments.
“If any Malaysian fishermen accidentally enter into Indonesian waters, there is no need to sink their boats,” Ahmad was quoted as saying by Malaysian new website therakyatpost.com.
“Just escort them back to the Malaysian waters,” he said,