South China Sea: Indonesia sinks scores of boats as rift with Beijing deepens

INDONESIA has sunk dozens of foreign boats within just hours to deter illegal fishing in its waters bordering the highly contended South China Sea, as the country continues to assert its sovereign authority over the area.

Date: May 5, 2019
By: Alice Scarsi

As many as 51 foreign boats were sunk by Indonesia authorities as a warning to other nations, Fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti said. The vessels, most of which were bearing Vietnam, Malaysia and China’s flags, will be scuttled at several different locations over the next two weeks, according to Indonesian officials. Ms Pudjiastuti claimed the use of violence was necessary to avoid further economic losses from lax regulations that gave leeway for foreign boats to fish in Indonesian waters.

This is not the first time Indonesia sinks and capture foreign vessels accused of entering its territorial waters.

The practice was launched in 2014, following the election of president Joko Widodo, and in the past years has hit hundreds of vessels – more than half from Vietnam.

After being suspended for several months, this policy was resumed in full force last month, when a Vietnamese coastguard boat rammed an Indonesian navy ship attempting to seize an illegal trawler.    [FULL  STORY]