570 illegal fishermen deported from Indonesia in 2015

570 illegal fishermen deported from Indonesia in 2015
Fishermen cleaning and folding their nets after a night of fishing.
PHOTO: AFP

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry arranged the deportation of 570 crew members of ships fishing illegally in Indonesian waters last year, including men who spread HIV in the country.

The Maritime and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force's infringement handling director, Fuad Himawan, said most of the deported fishermen were from Vietnam and the Philippines, with 353 and 222 people, respectively.

"Most of them are from Vietnam with 294 persons deported and 59 being processed as well as the Philippines with 140 fishermen deported and 82 being processed. Thailand had 73 fishermen deported and 11 being processed, while China had 63 fishermen deported and five being processed," he said on Wednesday in Jakarta.

Task force director general Asep Burhanudin explained that the men with HIV, mostly foreign fishermen involved in illegal fishing, had also been found in the Indonesian fisheries sector. They were in possession of fake identity cards (ID).

"In Ambon and Papua, crew members of foreign ships have been found with HIV, which they spread to local residents. Ironically, they were also fishing illegally. Therefore, we need to keep an eye on things. Local governments should be careful about issuing national IDs for them," Asep said.

The most prominent HIV cases in the sector involved a Benjina slavery case. When rescued from the slave ship, two crew members were skinny and fragile. After tests, the Thais citizens were found to be HIV positive.

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