Taiwanese fishing boat released by Indonesian authorities

Strait of Malacca (Photo courtesy of screenshot via Google Map)

Jakarta, Feb. 27 (CNA) A Taiwanese long-line fishing boat was released and allowed to resume operations early Tuesday morning after being searched and detained by Indonesia’s Coast Guard near the Strait of Malacca on Feb. 23.

The boat was released as of 5 a.m. Tuesday morning after no evidence of illegal activity was found, said John Chen (陳忠), head of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Indonesia.

TETO officials have assisted with Indonesia’s investigation while ensuring the rights of nationals aboard the Kaohsiung-registered “Wei Long (緯龍號)” vessel, Chen said.

The “Wei Long” had received authorization to travel to the Indian Ocean to fish and was making its way there after a pit stop in Singapore when it was detained by Indonesian authorities.

Coast Guard officers boarded the ship, which had 29 people on it, including a Taiwanese national in a position of authority and Filipino and Indonesian crew members.

Following an inspection of the ship, the Coast Guard tugged the ship to nearby Pulau Karimun Besar, about 30-35 kilometers west-southwest of Singapore, where it remained until Tuesday morning.

A woman surnamed Chen who was identified as the owner of the boat told CNA that the search was part of a routine inspection by Indonesia, which has since concluded with no evidence of any illegal activity found.

(By Jay Chou and Kuan-lin Liu)