51 detained Acehnese fishermen in Thailand to return to Indonesia

Fishermen bringing in their boats after warning were sounded ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Amphan, in Puri, Odisha, on Monday.(Arabinda Mohapatra/HT Photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANDA ACEH, Sep 30, 2020, ANTARA. The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen Association (KNTI) confirmed on Tuesday that 51 Acehnese fishermen were granted royal pardon from Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and will return to Indonesia in early October, ANTARA reported.

“The Acehnese traditional fishermen have received the king’s royal pardon after serving detention in Thailand. They will be flown to Jakarta on Oct 1 at the latest,” Head of the KNTI-Aceh Chapter Tgk Azwar Anas revealed.

Conversing with local journalists in Banda Aceh, Anas confirmed being notified by the KNTI-Central Executive Board’s Chairman, Rizal Damanik, in Jakarta, on the scheduled return of the 51 Acehnese fishermen.

The fishermen received royal pardon owing to efforts by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry through the Indonesian Consulate General in Songkla to seek the Thai King’s pardon on his birthday on July 28, 2020, Anas noted.

Shortly after their arrival in Jakarta in early October, the fishermen will be flown to Banda Aceh by the Aceh provincial administration under stringent implementation of health protocols, he noted.

“On behalf of the KNTI, we do laud and thank the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and acting Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah for assisting the repatriation of our traditional fishermen from Bangkok to Jakarta, and from Jakarta to Aceh,” Anas remarked.

After reuniting with their families in Aceh Province, Anas affirmed that the fishermen, who will return to fishing must exercise caution, with regulations for protecting them from breach of other country’s law.

In early this year, the Thai authorities detained 30 Acehnese fishermen and three children after being caught poaching in Thailand’s waters. Thereafter, in February 2020, some 21 more fishermen and three children were again caught poaching in the country’s waters.

The six children were repatriated to Indonesia on July 16, 2020, Anas remarked.

ANTARA pointed to the repeatedly arrests of several Acehnese fishermen for poaching in foreign countries’ waters.

On March 3, 2020, for instance, 12 Acehnese fishermen were also arrested by the Indian Navy in the waters off Nicobar Island in the eastern Indian Ocean for poaching.

According to Deputy Secretary of Aceh Sea Commander (Panglima Laot) – the tribal leaders in Aceh fishing community – Miftah Cut Adek, the 12 Acehnese fishermen departed Lampulo Port on February 29 at 6:15 p.m. local time aboard the BSK motorboat, with a capacity of 5.9 GT.

The 12 fishermen are the skipper Afdal, and crew members Idris Manaf, Ferri, Saiful Abu Bakar, M Amin Ismail, M Suid, Afdhoruddin, Zulkarnain, Akarim, Sofyan, M. Aziz, and Sarwan.

The fishing vessel was detained in the waters 55 nautical miles off the Nicobar Island, near the fishing aggregating device number 3 at around 5 p.m. local time, Adek stated.

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