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SOURCE: AFI

The Indonesian Coast Guard (ICG) has intercepted a Chinese research vessel sailing towards the Maldives after it repeatedly switched off its automated identification system (AIS) while traversing Indonesian waters.

The research ship, identified as the Xiang Yang Hong 03, deactivated its transponder three times between January 8 and 12 within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The AIS is a crucial tool for maritime safety and transparency, broadcasting a vessel’s location, course, and other vital information to nearby ships and coastal authorities.

Upon detecting the AIS irregularities, the ICG dispatched a patrol vessel to intercept the Chinese ship. While the ICG did not attempt to board the vessel, it reportedly issued a stern warning and requested the ship to immediately leave Indonesia’s EEZ.

The Chinese vessel’s repeated deactivation of its AIS has raised concerns about its intentions and activities within Indonesian waters. While the exact nature of the research being conducted remains unknown, the incident has sparked tensions and highlighted the importance of maritime security cooperation in the region.

Indonesia and China have shared a complex maritime relationship in recent years, with disputes over fishing rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea adding to the friction. The incident with the research vessel underscores the need for clear communication and adherence to international maritime laws to prevent misunderstandings and potential conflict.

The ICG’s swift action in intercepting the Chinese vessel and requesting its departure sends a clear message that Indonesia will not tolerate unauthorized activities within its EEZ. Moving forward, maintaining open communication and ensuring transparency regarding research activities in the region will be crucial in fostering trust and preventing future maritime incidents.