Ambassador Hoang Anh Tuan (second, right) sees fishermen off on January 21 (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia repatriated another 17 Vietnamese fishermen on January 29 who were reportedly arrested for violating Indonesia’s seas while working at sea.

The released fishermen, who were returned to Vietnam from Soekarno Hatta International Airport, are from Binh Dinh, Kien Giang, Tien Giang and Bac Lieu provinces. They had each served prison sentences in the archipelago country for between eight and 11 months.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia has recently stepped up efforts to protect Vietnamese citizens who are detained in Indonesia.

The embassy also enhanced communications with Indonesia’s relevant agencies to ask for reduced sentences for Vietnamese fishermen on the occasion of Vietnam’s traditional Lunar New Year, especially those who are old, have disadvantaged backgrounds or have served long jail terms.

More fishermen are expected to be released by Indonesia by the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 8.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Hoang Anh Tuan said most Vietnamese fishermen lack legal knowledge, which easily leads to infringement of other countries’ waters during their offshore fishing trips. Most also did not know about the consequences of fishing in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone such as equipment seizure and internment.

The embassy worked to send about 670 fishermen back to the homeland in 2015.

Last year, Indonesia arrested about 60 ships and boats and 660 fishermen from Vietnam, much higher than the 2014 figures, according to the embassy.-VNA