Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto will purchase more warships built in Denmark, possible similar to the Iver Huitfeldt size frigates, which Indonesia bought from Denmark last year. The warships will reportedly be used to guard Indonesia’s outermost waters, including around the Natuna Islands, Indonesian Goverment announced on 17 January 2020.
The Natuna sea is currently the focus of the ongoing Chinese territorial expansion at sea. The area has come under the government’s attention due to reported illegal fishing by foreign ships at its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Most recently, an Indonesian warship was in a close encounter with a Chinese coast guard who accompanied several Chinese fishing boats in the area.
The plan to buy more ocean-going vessels was made after Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto had reportedly bought frigates for the Indonesian Navy from Denmark.
Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla), which soon becomes the country’s coast guard, will need ships the size of those Danish vessels.
Mr. Luhut announced at his office in Jakarta that “Mr. Prabowo has bought ocean-going vessels for the Navy from Denmark. They are between 138 meters and 150 meters in length and those frigates can sail across the ocean,” .
“After the appointment of Bakamla is completed, we want similar vessels as well. Probably not frigates, but we want our coast guard to be capable of sailing the Natuna Sea as well,” according to Jakarta globe .
The appointment of Bakamla as coast guard is mentioned in a bill being deliberated by the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to settle overlapping roles in domestic maritime security. There are multiple institutions in maritime security including the Bakamla, the Water Police, the Indonesian Navy and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s sea patrols.