Indonesia sinks 51 fishing boats

Workers flood the cargo bay of a Vietnamese-flagged boat with water to sink it off Datuk Island, West Kalimantan, Indonesia on Saturday. (AP Photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities have resumed their tough crackdown on illegal fishing in the country’s water by sinking 51 foreign ships.

Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the ships were sunk on Saturday at five ports across the archipelago, which has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds. The boats had been seized from Chinese, Malaysian, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese fishermen.

The move comes a week after an Indonesian navy ship was rammed by two Vietnamese coast guard vessels after intercepting a boat it says was fishing illegally.

Last year, the ministry sank 125 mostly foreign vessels, including 86 Vietnamese-flagged ships, 20 Malaysian craft and 14 from the Philippines.

Indonesia says it has sunk more than 500 illegal fishing vessels since October 2014.

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