11 Feb 2014

Indonesian navy steps up patrols near PNG

12:03 pm on 11 February 2014

Reports from Indonesia says the Indonesian navy has intensified patrols in the waters off Merauke bordering Papua New Guinea after five fishermen who were forced by the PNG Navy to swim ashore went missing.

The Jakarta Post reports a naval commander saying 25 extra marines had been deployed to strengthen routine patrols.

The Eastern Fleet has also deployed a frigate to search for the five missing men.

The paper reports the five men were part of a group of ten fishermen who had boarded a speedboat on Thursday to buy sea cucumbers in the PNG village of Kadawa.

The speedboat was reportedly intercepted on Saturday by the PNG navy which immediately burnt it and told the fishermen to swim ashore.

The paper reports only five of them made it.

A naval commander Brigadier General Buyung Lalana told the paper he was bewildered by the PNG Navy's actions because the fishermen had had their immigration papers checked.