Taiwanese fishing boats held by Indonesia all cleared: MOFA

Taipei, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged Indonesia not to detain Taiwanese fishing boats without just cause after Taiwanese vessels detained by Indonesian authorities in three separate incidents in February were all cleared of illegal activity.

The ministry issued its appeal in a statement Friday after the last of the boats, the "Fu Yu" (???), was released on Thursday, after having been detained since Feb. 24, first by the Malaysian government and then handed over to the Indonesian government.

The ministry said Indonesia stepped up routine inspections of boats traveling close to its borders after Feb. 20, when it found a Taiwanese fishing boat falsely flying a Singapore flag and carrying 1.6 metric tons of crystal methamphetamine.

In the case of the "Fu Yu," Indonesian authorities kept the boat at Bintan Island while it investigated.

This was very similar to the first of the incidents which took place on Feb. 23 when a Kaohsiung-registered long-line fishing boat, the Wei Long, was traveling with permission to fish in the Indian Ocean and was detained by Indonesia's Coast Guard.

The boat, along with the 29 people onboard, was tugged to nearby Pulau Karimun Besar where it remained until Feb. 27 when Indonesian authorities cleared it of any suspected wrongdoing.

One day later, on Feb. 28, Indonesia detained two Taiwanese fishing boats, the "Ying Fa Hsiang 368" (???368) and the "Shye Chan No. 6" (??6), and also tugged them to Pulau Karimun Besar but released them late that night after completing a thorough inspection.

In light of the recent detainments, the ministry asked the Indonesian government to not engage in such action without just cause, the statement said.

The ministry also said its representative office in Indonesia has actively assisted Indonesian authorities in these cases while protecting the rights of Taiwanese citizens.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel