Mon | May 20, 2019

Indonesia sinks 51 poaching boats

Published:Sunday | May 5, 2019 | 12:28 AM
Workers flood the cargo bay of a Vietnamese-flagged boat with water to sink it in the waters off Datuk Island, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Saturday, May 4, 2019.
An Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Ministry patrol boat sails past foreign fishing boats caught operating illegally in Indonesian waters before sinking them off Datuk Island, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Saturday, May 4, 2019. Indonesian authorities have resumed its tough stance against poaching in the country's water by sinking 51 foreign ships. (AP Photo/William Pasaribu)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP):

Indonesian authorities resumed their tough stance against illegal fishing in the country’s waters by sinking 51 foreign ships Saturday, as the government ramps up efforts to exert greater control over its vast maritime territory.

The seized ships were sunk at five ports across the archipelago, which has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds, the maritime and fisheries ministry said in a statement.

The seized vessels sunk included 38 Vietnamese-flagged ships, six Malaysian, two Chinese and one Filipino. The rest were foreign-owned ships using the Indonesian flag.

Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said in a speech that the illegal boats were a threat to the local fishing industry. Their operators are frequently perpetrators of modern-day slavery.