Thursday, July 26, 2007
An Indonesian Navy ship opened fire at a Vietnamese fishing vessel in Indonesian waters last week, killing two fishermen and injuring another, according a Navy spokesman. The shooting occurred July 19 when four Vietnamese fishing vessels entered Indonesian waters around the Natuna Islands about 950 kilometers north of Jakarta, Rear Adm. Sugeng Darmawan told reporters. When the Navy ship sent signals ordering the vessels to stop, they tried to escape and three of them fled, Darmawan said. "We chased the other vessel, which made some maneuvers to endanger our ship...Crew of the vessel refused to stop it, throwing some stuff into the waters, so we fired warning shots and captured it." On the vessel, two men were confirmed dead and another wounded, he said.The dead fishermen are to be handed over to the Vietnamese Embassy in Jakarta, Darmawan said, adding the wounded fisherman is now being questioned by authorities. The Vietnamese fishing vessels are suspected of poaching in the Indonesian territorial waters, he said. Foreign fishing vessels, especially from Vietnam and Thailand, frequently trespass into Indonesian waters to fish. They are usually equipped with modern equipment, to the disadvantage of traditional fishermen. Of a total catch of approximately 6.4 million tons last year, Indonesia lost about 1.5 million tons due to illegal fishing, according to figures provided by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. Last year, the Navy's Western Fleet, which supervises the waters in the western part of Indonesia, held more than 100 foreign vessels, mostly from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, for illegal fishing. Sixty percent of them were caught around Natuna Islands.