Indonesia on Friday seized yet another Chinese vessel suspected of illegal fishing in waters off the coast of Natuna islands.
A press release from the Indonesian Armed Forces on Sunday (May 29) stated that the Indonesian frigate Oswald Siahaan 354 was patrolling the waters when it detected and intercepted the Chinese vessel Gui Bei Yu.
“We caught it, we were bringing it [the vessel] to Natuna when its engine broke down and we hauled it in with rope,” said Rear Admiral A. Taufiq R., Commander of the Indonesian Western Fleet.
Local media reports quoted Major Josdy Damopoli, a military spokesman for the Fourth Naval Base in Tanjung Pinang, Riau islands province, as saying that the Chinese coastguard stood by as Indonesian officials boarded the fishing vessel to apprehend its crew.
Eight people were reportedly apprehended in Friday’s incident.
Diplomatic tensions arose between Indonesia and China in March this year, when the two were involved in a standoff concerning a fishing vessel in waters off the coast of Natuna.
A Chinese trawler was captured over allegations of illegal fishing, while Beijing accused the country of attacking the ship on traditional Chinese fishing grounds. The incident was settled upon and written off as a ‘misunderstanding’ between the two countries.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, previously stated that the sovereignty of the Natunas belonged to Indonesia, and that China had no objections to this claim.