Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Pham Vinh Quang (R) visits fishermen detained in Indonesia (Source: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Pham Vinh Quang on January 30 and 31 visited Vietnamese fishermen who are being kept in a detention centre of Tanjung Pinang immigration office ahead of the lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Quang encouraged them to strictly follow the detention centre’s regulations and the host country’s laws.

Ahead of Tet, the ambassador presented gifts to the detained fishermen with a hope they could overcome difficulties and be repatriated home as soon as possible.

He also gave them a sum of money and proposed the detention centre allow them to go out for shopping, under the supervision of detention officers, so they can welcome the lunar New Year with traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Working with representatives from the detention centre, the diplomat suggested the centre adjust the daily diet suitable to Vietnamese tastes and allow the fishermen to go to market with the centre’s officers and get some exercise.

He also urged the centre to exchange information with the Vietnamese Embassy to speed up procedures to help them be repatriated soon.

According to the embassy, since the beginning of 2018, a total of 437 Vietnamese fishermen arrested for illegal fishing in Indonesia’s waters have been repatriated, and around 200 others are currently detained in Indonesia.

Last year, the number of Vietnamese fishermen seized by Indonesia was down nearly 50 percent compared with that of the previous year.

In the year, the Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia worked with domestic and Indonesian agencies to carry out citizen protection work.

Notably, after Vietnamese fishermen-related issues were mentioned at a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Hanoi last September, the Indonesian side has sped up procedures to return detained Vietnamese fishermen.-VNA