Ministry warns fishermen operating near Indonesia

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Mar 03, 2018 - Page 3

The government yesterday urged fishermen operating in waters close to Indonesia to remain alert, following the detention and inspection of Taiwanese fishing boats by Indonesian authorities, who have increased efforts to crack down on illegal drug shipments.

Over the past week, four Taiwanese fishing boats were detained at sea by Indonesian authorities over possible irregularities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The first vessel, the Win Long, was on Friday last week stopped and inspected by Indonesian customs, fishery, immigration and police officials in waters near Batam Island, it said.

After negotiations by ministry officials, the Win Long was released on Tuesday, with all of its 29 crew members, haul of fish and assets safe and intact, it added.

In the second incident, the Taiwanese fishing boat Fu Wu was on Saturday last week seized by Malaysian authorities before being handed over to their Indonesian counterparts for further investigation, the ministry said.

“The ministry instructed staff at the nation’s representative office to visit the boat’s crew on Indonesia’s Bintan Island to inquire about the reasons for their vessel’s detention,” it said, adding that the vessel was released on Thursday.

On Wednesday, two fishing boats, the Ying Fa Hsiang No. 368 and the Hsieh Chan No. 6, were detained by Indonesian customs officials in waters near Batam Island shortly after setting sail from Singapore, the ministry said.

The two boats were released late on Wednesday after inspections by Indonesian authorities failed to expose any illegal activities, it said.

“It is our understanding that the Indonesian government recently uncovered several foreign fishing vessels carrying large quantities of illegal drugs, prompting it to step up crackdown efforts,” the ministry said.

Nevertheless, the ministry said that it has requested Jakarta to refrain from detaining Taiwanese vessels without due cause.

At a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) urged the ministry to establish standard protocols to deal with such a scenario and safeguard the rights of the nation’s fishermen.