An Indonesian navy warship has fired on an unarmed Chinese fishing vessel in waters just to the north of Australia, killing one crew member and wounding two others. The fourth was taken into custody.
KRI Tanjung Dalpele signalled the fishing vessel by radio and visual signals, and when the Chinese boat did not reply, fired three warning shots. The Chinese vessel refused to stop, which led the Indon warship to fire upon its side and stern (propellor area). Three other fishing vessels escaped.
Indonesia tends to over-react to such incidents, opening fire on unarmed vessels when a chase and subsequent capture would have been enough.
An example of contrasting conduct - In August 2003 an Australian Navy (RAN) warship chased a Uruguayan fishing vessel, Viarsa that was illegally fishing in Australian waters, for thousands of kilometres until near South Africa when the SA Navy joined in to apprehend the boat.
At one stage Viarsa attempted to shake the RAN ship by dipping south into dangerous ice-bound Antarctic waters. When it was facing perilous danger of being ice-blocked and suffering a possible crushed hull, the RAN even indicated to the illegal vessel how to sail clear of danger.
Therein lies the different rules of engagement between a country like Australia and Indonesia. One uses the minimum force possible with the lives of even the pursued uppermost in their military conduct, whilst the other resorts to disproportionate force at the first excuse, resulting in the death and wounding of civilian fishermen.
Let’s see what happens now between Jakarta and Beijing.
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