Fri, 22 Sep 2000

Dutch firm appeals ship's seizure

JAKARTA (JP): A Dutch firm has appealed to the Riau High Court over a July 2000 verdict by Batam District Court that endorsed the seizure of one of its ships and punished its captain for sand smuggling.

Noted lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution, who is representing the company, Ballast Nedam Far East Pte. Ltd., said in a statement on Thursday that the firm appealed to the High Court on Tuesday, asking it to annul the district court's decision.

The verdict ordered the seizure of the dredger, HD Amsterdam Zeist, and sentenced in absentia its Dutch captain, Leutscher Erik, to three years in jail and fined him Rp 500 million (US$58,823).

"The Batam district court has failed to uphold justice and damaged our Constitution," Nasution said in a statement.

"The sand dredging was carried out in line with an agreement between Ballast Nedam and two local firms, PT Indoguna Yuda Nusa and PT Barelang Sugi Bulan.

"But, only the Dutch firm was sentenced by the district court, while the two local ones were acquitted on all the charges," he said.

Nasution said Ballast Nedam only bought the sand from the local firms. The three firms had cooperated from October 1997 until early 1999.

They had agreed to extend the cooperation, which required that the local firms provide all the necessary documents, when the ship was seized on Feb. 7 by Indonesian Navy warship KRI Sikuda.

On July 10, Batam District Court issued the ruling to seize the vessel and sentenced the captain, who was found guilty of attempting to steal 3,000 cubic meters of sand from Teluk Jodoh, Batam island, last year.

The captain is believed to have fled to Singapore aboard the vessel on June 10, 2000, after its owner submitted a request to the court to leave Tanjung Guncang port for repairs. (jun)