Illegal fishing boats are sunk by Indonesia. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Indonesia will continue maintaining tough measures against fishing vessels that violate its sea territory in 2016, according to Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti.

He told the media that Jakarta will protect its sovereignty and all ships, regardless of their nationality, that infringe its marine territory will be punished under local laws.

Since the beginning of this year, Indonesia has arrested 10 vessels from Vietnam carrying nearly 100 fishermen.

It has sunk 53 foreign fishing boats violating its territorial waters, 24 of which were from Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia has worked with the host country’s relevant ministries and agencies to complete procedures to bring home 77 fishermen.

The embassy also helped 14 fishermen who were arrested and sentenced to prison in Papua New Giunea return home.

Indonesia said it would tighten procedures and regulations on sentencing and releasing fishermen, especially captains and chief mechanics.

The punishments Indonesia is imposing on captains and chief mechanics are from six months to four years in prison.

With the growing number of arrests in the first three months of 2016 and Indonesia’s plan to continue taking tough measures against ships illegally fishing in its waters, Vietnam’s local authorities should help fishermen get a better understanding of Indonesian laws and inform them of the country’s stiff stance towards boats violating its territorial waters.-VNA