Wed, Mar 30, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Fisheries Agency issues shooting report

INDONESIA INCIDENT:The agency director-general said 17 places on one of the two boats showed gunshot marks, including in the cabin and outside sleeping quarters

Staff writer, with CNA

Indonesian government vessels created 17 marks from bullets on a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Fisheries Agency said in a report on Monday regarding a shooting incident involving two Taiwanese fishing boats and the Indonesian coast guard.

Fisheries Agency Director-General Tsay Tzu-yaw (蔡日耀) cited the Sheng Te Tsai’s voyage data recorders (VDR) as saying that it was sailing at 7 to 8 knots (13-15kph) before the incident in the early hours of Monday last week in the Strait of Malacca — at which speed it was unlikely to be setting nets.

That both the Sheng Te Tsai and the Lien I Hsing No. 116 had been sailing at that speed from 3am to 6am on the day of the incident pokes a hole in the Indonesian governments claim that the vessels were poaching in its territorial waters, Tsay said.

He quoted the two captains as saying that neither had tried to ram their ships into the Indonesian patrol boats, as had been claimed by Indonesian reports.

Agency officials who inspected the two fishing vessels found 17 bullet holes or marks, nine of which were outside the cabin, four outside the crew’s sleeping area, two inside the cabin, one in a liferaft and one on the funnel, Tsai said.

He declined to comment on media reports that the gunfire was meant to kill, saying only that “they were not warning shots — shots that are fired into the air.”

“We will demand an answer from the Indonesians,” he said, adding that it would need to be determined whether the personnel on the Indonesian vessels were using their arms in a proper manner.

Taiwan has asked the Southeast Asian country to produce evidence that the two Taiwanese boats were poaching and that they attempted to ram its patrol boats.

One way to prevent similar incidents from happening would be for Taiwan and Indonesia to sign a fisheries agreement similar those Taiwan has signed with Japan and the Philippines, he said.

Both Taiwanese boats left Donggang (東港) in Pingtung County in November last year. They were sailing alongside each other toward Singapore with full loads after operating in the open seas to the southeast of Bangladesh 121 days after they left their home port, when what both captains described as the “terrifying” incident occurred.

In Jakarta, officials have insisted that the patrol boats were following standard operating procedure — issuing a warning before firing at the Taiwanese boats that they suspected of poaching.

Indonesian Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the Indonesian ships had demanded that the fishing boats stop for inspection, but had refused.

She denied that the shooting was meant to kill, as claimed by, Lin Nan-yang (林喃揚), the captain of the Sheng Te Tsai.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced the use of violence and has demanded that Indonesia produce evidence that the fishing boats were acting illegally to the extent that warranted being shot at.

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