Papuan fishing crew escaped from being shot at in PNG waters

KMN Calvin 02 and eight crew members who survived the shooting incident in Papua New Guinea waters arrived at the Merauke Fishery Port on Tuesday (23/8/2022) morning. A number of Indonesian security forces asked for information from the crew of the ship. Jubi/Emanuel Riberu

Merauke, Jubi – A Papua New Guinea army patrol boat reportedly chased three Indonesian fishing boats from Merauke Regency that were illegally fishing in PNG waters on Monday afternoon, August 22, 2022.

Jubi’s source told that the Putera Iksan 08 fishing boat which was anchored in Torasi river, which marks the border of Indonesian and PNG waters, reported to the Navy Post in Torasi through radio that PNG patrol boats were pursuing three fishing boats in PNG territory.

Two fishing boats, namely Arsila 77 and Baraka Paris, were captured and detained by the PNG army. Meanwhile, Calvin 02 fishing boat, which had escaped the chase, was shot by the PNG army. The captain, Sugeng, got shot in the neck and died.

One of the crew members of Calvin 02 who escaped the shooting, a Papuan named Nataniel, revealed that the shooting occurred at around 3 p.m. local time after they released the net to catch fish in PNG waters.

“At that time, a patrol boat came. We were afraid so we threw away the net and left. A speedboat came out of the patrol boat and chased us. They fired at our ship multiple times,” Nataniel told reporters in Merauke on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

During the shooting, Nataniel said, he and seven other crew members of Calvin 02 hid in the engine room. Ship owner and captain Sugeng remained in the wheelhouse while bringing the ship into Indonesian waters. Unfortunately, the captain was shot in the left side of his neck, and he died instantly.

“He was shot in the left side of his neck. We don’t know how many times he was hit but there are gunshot marks on the neck. There were 8 crew members, nine people in total with the captain,” said Nataniel.

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Nataniel said that following the shooting, one of the crew members waved a white sack signaling that they surrendered. A speedboat carrying 10 PNG soldiers came and asked about the captain.

“They did not get on the ship. They just asked where the captain was, we said he was dead because he got shot. About an hour later they left. They didn’t check on us. We were only ordered to sit on the remaining nets,” Nataniel said.

After that, said Nataniel, one of the crew members took over the wheel and sailed back to the Torasi river to report the incident to the Navy Post at Torasi, as well as evacuate the victim’s body to Merauke.

Nataniel told that they sailed into PNG waters on August 17. “We were able to catch some fish. We have often fished there but for some people, it was their first time. I myself have been there 10 times,” he said.

The Calvin 02 fishing motorboat along with eight crew members arrived at the Merauke fishing port at around 8 p.m.

Upon arrival at the fishing port, Sugeng’s body was immediately taken by ambulance to the Regional General Hospital for a post-mortem, then taken to the funeral home on Ternate Street, Seringgu Village for burial. (*)

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