Indonesian Armed Forces Continue Patrols as 30 Foreign Ships Detected in the North Natuna Sea

Indonesia Armed Forces continue to monitor North Sea region of Natuna as at least 30 foreign ships were detected, Saturday (11/1/2020).
Stated by Commander of Regional I Joint Command, Rear Admiral Yudo Margono, Indonesia's armed forces, continue to monitor North Sea region of Natuna as at least 30 foreign ships were detected Saturday (11/1/2020).

"The number is around 30 KIA, (Foreign Fishing Ship)" said Yudho as reported by Kompas, Saturday (11/1/2020).

Reported by Tempo (11/1/2020), this evident was gathered from an air monitoring mission carried out by the Indonesia Armed Force (TNI) using a Boeing 737 AI-7301 maritime reconnaissance aircraft flown from Squadron 5 Sultan Hasanuddin Air Base Makassar.

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China's Coast Guard in North Natuna Sea. Source: ANTARA FOTO/M RISYAL HIDAYAT

Three Republic of Indonesia warships namely KRI Karel Satsuit Tubun 356, KRI Usman Harun 359, KRI Jhon Lie 358 were deployed to drive out foreign fishing vessels which remained in the northern Natuna sea waters until they exited Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Rear Admiral TNI Yudo Margono instructed elements in the sea to take steps to expel the fishing vessels to get out of the Indonesian sea territory to get out of Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

"The first thing that was done was persuasively informing the ships that they had entered Indonesian territory and then (we) carried out the expulsion," said Yudho.

"However, if these foreign vessels still do not leave Indonesian territory, law enforcement will be carried out, the vessels will be captured and legally processed," Yudho added.

TNI did not disclose the origin of the detected foreign vessel, however picture of China's Coast Guard-5202 overshadowed KRI Usman Harun-359 as a patrol approached a Chinese trawler fishing boat that catches fish in the Indonesia's EEZ of North Natuna Island is being circulated, Saturday, January 11, 2020.

According to Tempo, there are a number of foreign ships, approximately 5 to 10 miles outside of Indoneisa's EEZ boundary. Warships and aircrafts will remain on alert and continue to patrol Natuna Sea water.

China's Nine Dash Line Claim

Exclusive Economic Zone is a zone that covers 200 nautical miles from the coastline of a country, where in that zone the country has the right to natural resources in it. The country also has the right to enforce its legal policies, freedom of navigation, fly over it, or plant cables and pipes.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is used to regulate EEZ.At present 158 countries, including the European Union, have joined the convention. Including China and Indonesia also joined in it.

However, China does not recognize Indonesia's claim to the North Natuna EEZ because the zone is overlapping with the nine dash line. Part of North Natuna water is by China as a Traditional Fishing Grounds.

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The map of the disputed North Natuna Sea

Indonesia Claim Based on UNCLOS 

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud Md said that Indonesia and China are not in an atmosphere of war related to violations of EEZ by China. Mahfud stressed that the Natuna Sea is Indonesia's territorial territory so there is no negotiation with China.

"What is clear, we are not in an atmosphere of war. Because we do not have a conflict with China," said Mahfud at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics and Security, Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, Monday (1/6/2019).

Article 73 of UNCLOS regarding the Enforcement of laws and regulations of the coastal State:
  1. The coastal State may, in the exercise of its sovereign rights to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the living resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone, take such measures, including boarding, inspection, arrest and judicial proceedings, as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations adopted by it in conformity with this Convention.
  2. Arrested vessels and their crews shall be promptly released upon the posting of reasonable bond or other security.
  3. Coastal State penalties for violations of fisheries laws and regulations in the exclusive economic zone may not include imprisonment, in the absence of agreements to the contrary by the States concerned, or any other form of corporal punishment.
  4. In cases of arrest or detention of foreign vessels the coastal Stateshall promptly notify the flag State, through appropriate channels, of the action taken and of any penalties subsequently imposed.
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