Monday, January 25, 2021

"China, Indonesia on a collision course at sea"

 From Asia Times, January 15:

Chinese research vessels, coast guard boats and underwater drones are making unwelcome incursions into Indonesian waters 

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s interception this week of a Chinese research ship, which had crossed the Java Sea without an activated transponder, and last month’s discovery of a suspected Sea Wing underwater drone off southern Sulawesi has presented Jakarta with a new set of issues in its uneasy relations with Beijing over maritime sovereignty.

On the evening Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded an official visit to Jakarta, an Indonesian Coast Guard patrol ship shadowed the survey vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 into the strategic Sunda Strait separating Java and Sumatra after it turned off its automated identification system (AIS) three times between January 8 and 12. 

Under provisions in the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) recognized by most countries, Indonesia requires all ships transiting the world’s only archipelagic sea lanes to have functioning AIS and forbids them from carrying out oceanographic research.

In addition, foreign warships are permitted to conduct limited flight operations and submarines can remain submerged as long as they don’t stray more than 25 nautical miles on either side of their charted course through the three designated north-south lanes.

The Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA) said the Xiang Yang Hong 03 killed its transponder twice while passing through the Natuna islands at the southern end of the South China Sea and later in the Karimata Strait, northeast of the island of Belitung.

The Indonesian patrol craft KN Nipah Island did not attempt to close with and board the Chinese vessel because of bad weather, but they were told by radio that the AIS had been damaged. It was later escorted out of Indonesia’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).

The incident came only a fortnight after Indonesia announced the discovery of a so-called Sea Glider off South Sulawesi’s Selayar Island. Carrying a trailing antenna and with no identifying marks, it was the third found in Indonesian waters in the past year, although the previous finds were not made public.

One of the drones was recovered in the Natuna islands in March last year. Earlier this month another was found by fishermen north of the East Java port city of Surabaya near the approaches to the Lombok Strait separating Java and Bali....


Probably unrelated at The Diplomat:

 Indonesia's Nuclear Dream, Revived?