Indonesia frees 42 Vietnamese detained for illegal fishing

By Nguyen Quy   July 24, 2018 | 11:00 pm PT
Indonesia frees 42 Vietnamese detained for illegal fishing
A Vietnamese fishing boat seized after being spotted sailing near Indonesia’s Natuna islands in a file photo. Photo by AFP
42 Vietnamese fishermen have been released after being arrested and detained for more than three months for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

The Indonesian government and the Vietnamese embassy in Jakarta completed the necessary paperwork to hand over the fishermen to Vietnam on Tuesday at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Most of the fishermen, who hail from southern provinces including those in the Mekong Delta, were captured by Indonesian coast guards last April.

Due to limited geographical knowledge, many fishermen were unaware that they were violating international maritime laws and unwittingly straying into foreign waters to catch fish, said Pham Vinh Quang, Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia.

Some fishermen said they would quit fishing after returning home because of their age and poor health.

Hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested for illegal fishing in recent years in the waters of nearby countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Vietnam’s Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department has been trying to raise awareness about maritime boundaries and international maritime laws, and conducts frequent patrols to prevent potential violations.

In June last year, Indonesia released 690 Vietnamese fishermen detained for illegal fishing in its waters, the largest release of Vietnamese fishermen in history, followed by another 239, four months later.

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