Indonesia resumes maritime patrols with Australia after authorities destroyed illegal fishing vessels

By Jackson Graham

Thursday November 11, 2021

Marise Payne
Foreign minister Marise Payne is visiting Jakarta. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Indonesia has resumed joint maritime patrols with Australia after a short suspension over the burning of three Indonesian fishing vessels in Australian waters. 

It comes as foreign minister Marise Payne visits Jakarta as part of broader meetings in south-east Asia aimed at settling tensions about Australia’s pivot to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines and strengthening alliances with ASEAN nations. 

The Australian Border Force released images of the burning fishing vessels this week, and detailed two multi-agency efforts — including one last month — that seized illegal boats, sea cucumber and fishing gear. 

Indonesian authorities put a temporary stop to joint maritime patrols with Australia, saying in a statement on Monday they wanted Australian authorities to provide more detail about the operations.

But on Wednesday the Marine and Fishery Resources agency told The Age that the joint patrols would be resuming after receiving the information they needed. 

“We are discussing when the joint patrol can resume because the bottom line is that both institutions have a long track of cooperation in patrolling illegal practices in fishing areas,” spokesman Didik Agus Suwarno told the newspaper. 

An Australian Border Force spokesperson told The Mandarin that the agency had an “excellent relationship” with its Indonesian counterparts. 

“Our approach to dealing with illegal foreign fishing is longstanding and well understood,” the spokesperson said. 

“The Australian Border Force along with our partner agencies is committed to protecting Australia’s sovereign waters and our economically important marine environment from illegal fishing.

“The ABF continues to enjoy an excellent relationship with its Indonesian counterparts and looks forward to continued collaboration on this issue.”

Meanwhile, Australia has committed to share a further 7.5 million COVID-19 vaccination doses with Indonesia, with 1.2 million of the doses to arrive on Friday. 

It follows Australia commiting on Thursday to share an additional 2.7 million vaccine doses with Vietnam. 


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