Indonesia sinks 23 foreign fishing boats

AP News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2016 8:42 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities on Tuesday blew up 23 foreign vessels that were captured for fishing illegally in the country's waters.

The boats, 13 from Vietnam and 10 from Malaysia, were blown up simultaneously in seven ports from Tarakan in northern Kalimantan to Ranai on the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti witnessed the destruction, which was coordinated by the navy, coast guard and police, via live-streamed Internet video at her office in downtown Jakarta.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation, has taken a tough stance against illegal fishing since President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo took office in 2014.

Pudjiastuti has overseen the capture of nearly 200 illegal fishing boats from several countries after declaring a fishing moratorium for foreign vessels.

A total of 174 illegal fishing boats have been blown up. The fates of 20 others await court rulings.

Last month, Indonesia destroyed the Nigeria-flagged Viking with explosives. The ship was wanted around the world for illegally taking toothfish from southern waters.

It was seized by the Indonesian navy on Feb. 25 while operating in waters south of Singapore.

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This story has been corrected to show that Ranai is in the Natuna islands instead of Aceh province.