Four underage fishermen from Sulawesi arrive back in Bali on Saturday after being detained in Darwin, Australia. (Photo courtesy of KKP)

Australia Releases Four Underage Fishermen From Indonesia


JUNE 15, 2019

Jakarta. The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry managed to secure the release of four underage Indonesian fishermen who were being detained in Darwin, Australia, a ministry official said on Saturday.

The four young fishermen were identified as 17-year-old S., R.A.G. and E.T.A., and 13-year-old S.R. They were arrested by the Australian border police on May 24 along with three other fishermen on a fishing boat named "Barcelona." The boys and men were accused of fishing illegally on Australian waters.

"The boat carried a crew of seven men from Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi when they were arrested," Agus Suherman, acting head of the Maritime and Fishery Resources Supervisory Unit at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement.

All seven of them were taken to Darwin to be interrogated but Australian officials decided to release the four boys due to their age. The three other fishermen are still being detained in Darwin and face further legal process.

Agus said the Indonesian consulate general in Darwin has been assisting the fishermen since they arrived in Darwin.

"They [the four underage fishermen] were accompanied by representatives from the Indonesian consulate general in Darwin on their way back to Indonesia…. They will return to Wakatobi [soon]," Agus said.

The four young fishermen were flown to Bali from Darwin on Saturday. 

Since January, Indonesia has managed to release 94 local fishermen who were caught fishing illegally in neighboring territories – 11 in Malaysia, 18 in Timor Leste, 36 in Myanmar, 11 in Thailand and 18 in Australia.