Indonesia adds two more patrol vessels to combat illegal fishing

Published on
March 12, 2021

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry of Indonesia has launched two new patrol ships to fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in its waters, Antara News reported.

The ships, named Hiu 16 and Hiu 17, will conduct routine patrols in the Malacca Strait and North Natuna Sea, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Director of Fleet Monitoring and Operations Pung Nugroho Saksono was quoted as saying.

They were designed by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology and built by PT Palindo Marine Batam.

Saksono said the two, which are Indonesia’s fastest vessels at present, have a variety of modern equipment – including drones – to support missions involving interception, security checks, and detention.

Antara said Indonesia has witnessed several illegal fishing cases in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), especially in waters near Natuna.

In early 2020, a number of Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels were spotted operating in Indonesia’s EEZ near Natuna waters. Indonesian naval ships then chased them away.

In August last year, two Vietnamese fishing boats with more than 20 crews in total were seized by Indonesian authorities in waters which Indonesia said are located in their northern Natuna.

Under fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who was replaced in October 2019 by Indonesian President Joko Widodo as part of a cabinet reshuffle, Indonesia had implemented a hardline policy against illegal foreign-flagged ships. Pudjiastuti is credited with ordering Indonesia’s maritime authorities to sink more than 500 illegal fishing vessels during her time in office, a move viewed by several NGOs as a successful deterrent to illegal fishing.

In July last year, Indonesia established a new marine intelligence hub, the Indonesian Maritime Information Center (IMIC), aimed at tackling IUU fishing in the country’s waters.

The new intelligence hub collects and verifies data from the government agencies, including data from satellite imagery, aerial surveillance, and ships’ automatic identification systems (AIS), and other public sources. It then publishes daily maritime updates on its website with vessels suspected of IUU fishing marked as red dots.  

Photo courtesy of Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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