Indonesia is planning to purchase bigger boats for its Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA). The boats would equip BAKAMLA with the capacity to expand their patrol reach and travel longer distances across the ocean. This is important considering the recent dispute in Natuna Sea border, involving Chinese coast guard and illegal fishing by foreign ships. Indonesia has ongoing disputes with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands. In January 2020, Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the Natuna Islands to assert Indonesia’s sovereignty amid a standoff between Indonesian and Chinese vessels.
Recently, Indonesia has also purchased frigates from Denmark. The ocean-going vessels are 138 meters and 150 meters in length. This is also the estimated size of boats that Indonesia is eyeing for its coast guard.
Indonesia is deliberating a bill that aims to resolve the issue of overlapping roles in domestic maritime securities. The country has multiple maritime defense institutions: the BAKAMLA, the Indonesian Sea and Coast Guard , the Indonesian Navy, and SATGAS 115, a task force formed in 2015 under the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries for combating illegal fishing in Indonesia.
BAKAMLA is a non-ministerial government institution, which directly reports to the President through Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs. BAKAMLA’s mandate is to conduct security and safety patrols in the Indonesian territorial waters. The bill would appoint BAKAMLA as the key agency for guarding Indonesia’s coastline.
(Source: Jakarta Globe)