Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Hoang Anh Tuan at the hand-over ceremony (Source: VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) – Up to 228 Vietnamese fishermen who had been arrested for accidentally fishing in Indonesia’s seas several months ago will be repatriated on September 14, marking the single biggest number of Vietnamese fishermen released by the country so far.

The repatriation will take place in waters off Natuna island, about 74km from Pelabuhan Teluk Lampa seaport. This is the first time Indonesia has handed over fishermen to foreign countries in its waters.

A handover ceremony was held at Pelabuhan Teluk Lampa seaport on September 13, where Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Sjarief Widjaja stressed Indonesia’s efforts to ensure fishermen’s rights and interests.

He called on Vietnamese fishermen to respect law while fishing at sea and not to use eradication fishing methods in order to protect maritime resources for next generations.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Hoang Anh Tuan thanked the Indonesian Government for its humanitarian treatment for Vietnamese fishermen, and competent Indonesian agencies for coordination in the repatriation work.

The diplomat said he hopes that Vietnam and Indonesia will increase their affiliation in other realms, especially seafood and maritime management.

The fishermen, who hail from different provinces across Vietnam, had been detained on Indonesia’s Natuna, Batam and Tarempa islands for three to six months.

The Indonesia side confirmed that more than 300 other Vietnamese fishermen are still being kept on the islands.-VNA