Indonesia sinks dozens of foreign vessels to mark independence

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Jakarta, Aug 17: Indonesian authorities decided to sink dozens of impounded foreign boats to mark the country's 72nd independence day on Wednesday (Aug 17) as President Joko Widodo stepped up a campaign to prevent foreign fishrmen for "stealing" in its waters, AFP reported.

Widodo, who took over in 2014, has strongly taken up the campaign to assert Indonesia's maritime sovereignty and the country has blown up several foreign vessels.

 

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Since elected, President Joko Widodo has intensified a campaign to exercise Indonesias maritime sovereignty and has sunk and blown up scores of foreign vessels. Widodo has taken the tough stance for Indonesia reportedly suffers a massive revenue annually because of illegal fishing in its waters.

Foreign ministry official Mas Achmad Santosa said they offered 60 boats to be scuttled in eight locations, AFP added. "This is a gift (for Indonesia) and goes to show our consistency in enforcing the law," the report added him as saying.

However, as a difference from the past, the boat-sinking ceremony of Wednesday was not given a media coverage. The officials also did not say to which countries did the boats belong to. Indonesia has in the past sunk boats from countries like China, Vietnam and the Philippines with Beijing particularly getting upset with the act.

Relations between China and Indonesia have taken a beating in the recent times over the clash between Chinese fishing boats and Indonesia's government vessels.

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