Indonesia Detains Chinese Fishing Boat, Beijing Says 1 Person Injured

June 19, 2016 Updated: June 19, 2016

An Indonesian Navy vessel fired upon Chinese fishing ships in the South China Sea, injuring one fisherman, Beijing officials said.

The Chinese regime’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that the Indonesian warship fired warning shots after spotting 12 vessels fishing in disputed waters. 

The Indonesian Navy, in a press release, said the ships were “conducting illegal fishing in Natuna waters” on Friday, June 17. The Natuna Islands are an archipelago of 272 islands located in the South China Sea and, since 2014, Indonesia has reinforced its military presence in the area after it was included—controversially—within the Chinese regime’s “nine-dash line.”

The Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol fired several warning shots, the Navy said, adding that the Chinese fishing vessels ignored them.

The Navy said it captured one of the Chinese-flagged ships, adding that nobody was harmed, but the Chinese foreign ministry said otherwise, saying one of the vessels was hit, injuring one.

The Chinese fishing vessel (Indonesia Navy)
The Chinese fishing vessel (Indonesia Navy)

One of the ships was captured. It was manned by six men and one woman believed to be Chinese nationals, the Indonesian Navy said.

First Admiral Edi Sucipto said in the Navy release that if any ship flagged by another country “commits violation in Indonesia’s jurisdiction, the Navy will not hesitate to act decisively.”

“All the crew are safe. The six men and one woman are now in Ranai,” he additionally told the AFP news agency.

Beijing, meanwhile, said the injured Chinese fisherman was transported to the southern Chinese island province of Hainan for treatment.

In late May, the warship KRI Oswald Siahaan-354 captured a Chinese fishing boat that was fishing there illegally in the same waters. 

The Chinese regime has made sweeping territorial claims over much of the South China Sea and portions of the East China Sea. Asian nations are now awaiting the outcome of a United Nations-backed court hearing in the Netherlands over a complaint lodged by the Philippines over Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

In March, Chinese coastguard ships rammed a Chinese boat detained in the Natunas, helping it escape as Indonesian vessels towed it to shore. Jakarta responded by lodging a protest and summoning the Chinese regime’s top foreign envoy.

Indonesia doesn’t dispute ownership of reefs or islets in the South China Sea, but it objects to Beijing’s claims as they overlap with its own economic zone around the Natunas. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has claimed illegal fishing has caused $20 billion in lost revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal.