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Indonesia, Malaysia agree to protect fishermen in grey areas

24th May 2012 | 2.274 Views
Indonesia, Malaysia agree to protect fishermen in grey areas
Ilustration (FOTO ANTARA/Widodo S. Jusuf)
Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to protect fishermen from the two countries if they are found fishing in areas that are still under dispute.

"We have agreed to protect the fishermen," said the head of the law information and cooperation centre of the Sea Security Coordinating Agency, Commodore Triyususwoyo, here on Thursday.

He stated that the two countries have agreed to treat fishermen found fishing in the "grey areas" well and not to arrest them or take any other legal action against them.

The agreement was formulated during a discussion on technical guidance for the handling of fishermen between Indonesia and Malaysia.

"Hence, fishermen found fishing in the unresolved maritime boundary areas will only be checked. If they are found to be really fishermen, they will be released. The term for it is `ask and go`," he remarked.

However, if the fishermen were found carrying suspicious items during the check, such as bombs, they could be arrested, he added.

"The officials that will arrest them could be Indonesian or Malaysian, depending on who finds them," he pointed out.

Therefore, with this agreement, fishermen need not worry about being stranded in the unresolved territory, the commodore explained.

He said that before the agreement was signed, many Indonesian fishermen have been arrested by Malaysia while fishing in disputed areas.

"The number of such cases is substantial," he said.

He added that there are five such disputed areas situated in the Malacca Strait, the southern part of the Malacca Strait, the Singapore Strait, the South China Sea and the South Sulawesi Sea.

According to the commodore, the agreement to protect fishermen only applies to fishermen from the two countries. "Fishermen from other countries (found fishing in these areas) will be arrested," he stressed.

He described the agreement as the follow up to a memorandum of understanding - which was signed in Bali on January 27, 2012 - on the handling of sea security problems by sea security personnel in the unresolved maritime border between Indonesia and Malaysia.