Women in Maritime Indonesia against Changes in Cabotage Principle



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Women in Maritime Indonesia, or WIMA Ina, opposes the revision of Maritime Law or Law no.17/2008. They said the amendments could create rooms for foreign investors to have control over Indonesia's sea voyage.

    WIMA Ina deputy Carmelita Hartoto said that one of the points in the revision "plays" with the cabotage principle, which would allow which would allow foreign ships to transport passengers and goods in the territorial waters of Indonesia.

    "The principle of cabotage is our pride. Revising it would trample our sovereignty. Wouldn't it be strange if we—as an archipelago—are unable to regulate our own voyages? ”Carmelita said during a WIMA Ina symposium in Labuan Bajo, Wednesday, September 18.

    The cabotage principle is a nation's exclusive right to draft regulations, including in the shipping sector. The Cabotage principle was applied to protect Indonesia's sovereignty; entitling it to restrict the activities of foreign vessels operating within domestic waters.

    The cabotage rule is set out in article 8 of the Maritime Law that domestic sea transportations must be performed by Indonesian flagged vessels. The vessels must also be manned by crews of Indonesian nationals.

    WIMA Ina said the principle has helped boost investments in the maritime sector, with, Carmelita said, the number of domestic vessels increased by almost five times in 2019 compared to 2005.

    "In 2019 we have 25,000 shipping vessels, even though in 2005 we only had 6,000," she said.

    Another point in the revision they highlighted is the about coast guard.

    Rather than revising the law, Carmelita asked the government to focus on completing the derivative rules of said law. "Right now, not all points that require derivative rules are available—such as taxes," she said.