TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Navy confirmed the circulating information regarding a United States aircraft carrier that frequently traversed the North Natuna Sea, Riau Islands.
“Yes, that's right, the U.S. aircraft carrier often passes by the North Natuna Sea. They head to Singapore or are from Singapore to the US,” said First Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Arsyad Abdullah on Friday, September 17. He asserted that the warship carried out peaceful crossings into the Natuna waters.
Arsyad added that foreign ships coordinated with the Indonesian authority when executing peaceful crossings. “And we keep shadowing them until they exit our EEZ (exclusive economic zone).”
He also said EEZ is international waters so that every country has the right to carry out a peaceful crossing.
According to him, Indonesia has sovereign rights there, not sovereignty. “[We have] sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting,” he said.
Other countries willing to tap resources in Indonesia’s EEZ are allowed to do so after securing the government’s permit. “If it is just passing, it is allowed without a permit,” Arsyad remarked.
He made the statement in response to viral photos and videos showing foreign ships passing Indonesia's territory. He underlined that it was permissible not only for fishing boats but also warships.
“When I served as the commander of a marine combat group, I often checked on Chinese fishing boats that were passing by. There was, of course, no fish on the deck. They just passed by from Singapore to China,” Arsyad said.