Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has strongly protested the Indonesian Government’s which detained a boat, the Seven Seas Conqueress, nine other Singaporean passengers and three Indonesian crew within Singapore Territorial Waters off Pedra Branca on 20 August 2016.
According to local media, Jakarta Post, the Indonesian Navy’s Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team and Mapor patrol ship apprehended a Malaysian-flagged fishing vessel and arrested its Singaporean passengers for allegedly trespassing and fishing illegally in Bintan waters, Riau Islands.
Navy commander First Adm. S. Irawan said earlier that they were caught 12 kilometers off Tanjung Berakit in Bintan, Tanjungpinang. By that time,
By that time, Irawan told the media, “We will charge them under the Fisheries Law and we will also hand them over to the immigration office. The boat was fishing in Indonesian waters without a permit. The violations are pretty clear.”
Based on checks by the Navy, the boat belongs to Singapore’s Odyssey Marine PTE Ltd. The boat had a Singapore Port clearance issued on 19 August to sail the open seas and the boat was also listed on the Langkawi International Yacht Registry of Malaysia.
Nine Singaporean passengers were released on 1 September 2016. However, Singaporean captain Ricky Tan Poh Hui, and the vessel, remain in Indonesian custody until today.
The Ministry then urged Indonesian authorities to release Mr Tan and the vessel, as well as the termination of any purported investigations against him.
Here is what the Ministry wrote in full:
The Seven Seas Conqueress, its crew, and passengers, were detained by the Indonesian authorities within Singapore Territorial Waters off Pedra Branca on 20 August 2016. Nine Singaporean passengers were released on 1 September 2016. However, Singaporean captain Ricky Tan Poh Hui, and the vessel, remain in Indonesian custody.
Singapore has strongly protested the Indonesian Government’s actions. We have emphasised that there is no basis for Indonesia’s detention of the vessel, its crew and passengers, nor for the continued detention of and purported charges brought against Mr Tan in the Tanjung Pinang District Court. In addition, Singapore officials have communicated repeatedly with the relevant Indonesian authorities, at both the national and provincial level, to seek the immediate release of Mr Tan and the vessel, as well as the termination of any purported investigations against him.
Upon being informed on 21 August 2016 of his detention, MFA had immediately sought consular access to Mr Tan. After repeated requests, the Indonesian authorities granted Singapore consular officials access to Mr Tan on 24 January 2017.
MFA will persist in our efforts to secure the immediate release of Mr Tan and the vessel. We will continue to provide all necessary assistance to Mr Tan and his next-of-kin in the interim.