RI in weak position in Natuna fishing dispute with China


An expert has argued that Indonesia is in a weak position in regards to its maritime disputes with China following an incident in the Natuna Sea because Indonesian patrol boats are not recognized by the International Maritime Organization.

In accordance with a 1982 United Nations convention, the international community only recognizes two types of boats operating in Exclusive Economic Zones, namely government boats and Navy ships.

The boats must also be registered with the International Maritime Organization, said Connie Rahakundi Bakrie, president of the Indonesia Institute for Maritime Studies.

The incident involved an Indonesian boat owned by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, an illegal Chinese fishing boat and a Chinese coast guard vessel.

“The [Indonesian] boat is not recognized by the International Maritime Organization. Even though it is a government boat, it has not been registered,” Connie said on Monday as quoted by Kompas.com.

Indonesia does not effectively demarcate which institutions are responsible for protecting waters that border with other countries.

Connie has urged the government to finalize a decision on which institution will be responsible for the region. The candidates include the Marine Security Agency, the Indonesian Navy and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry.

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