Sat, 29 Oct 1994

Two schooners captured for illegally hauling lumber

JAKARTA (JP): The City Police Coast Guard (Satpol Air) has captured two schooners, one illegally loaded with over 400 cubic meters of lumber from Sumatra and another small boat packed with ceramic vases smuggled from Singapore.

The total price of the sawn timber is estimated at over Rp 50 million (US$22,880) and the ceramics around Rp 2 million, based on local market values.

The head of the Coast Guard, Lt. Col. Elizar Harris Allagan, told reporters at the Satpol Air Headquarters in the Tanjung Priok port, North Jakarta, yesterday that the two schooners were arrested separately around 10 p.m. on Thursday near Damar Island, located 10 miles north of the headquarters.

"The captain of one of the sailboats failed to produce legal permit for carrying the 250 cubic meters of sawn timber, while the load on the other ship exceeded its 100-cubic meter legal capacity," said Allagan.

The two schooners, the Hotel Sinjai II and Rian Fitrana, their 15 crew members and material evidence are currently being held at the Satpol Air headquarters.

Captains of both boats are now in police custody for questioning.

"We're still investigating the case and looking for the owner of the boats," Allagan said.

The sawn timber, locally known as Tarentang wood, is used primarily in the beginning phases of building construction, and is usually sold at Rp 200,000 per meter cubic at Kalibaru in Cilincing, North Jakarta.

A crew member of the Hotel Sinjai II admitted that they brought the lumber from Sungai Lumpur district in Palembang, South Sumatra.

"I've been sailing with such commodities for the last 10 years and have been found out by the police only this time," said crew Hasan Basri.

"Each of us here was paid Rp 100,000 per month by the owner of the boat who lives in Bone, South Sulawesi," Hasan said.


On Monday, members of the Coast Guard arrested the crew of an Indonesian cargo ship and a businessman caught smuggling goods during a routine night patrol in Tanjung Priok.

Bayu, an engineer for Takari II, owned by PT Angkutan Tambang, is believed to have smuggled and sold 60 boxes of ceramics to local businessman Rudy Rismanto.

During police questioning, Bayu confessed that he bought the ceramics during a brief transit in Singapore.

As one of the main national gateways, Tanjung Priok waters are a promising place for smugglers of various goods and merchandise, including electronics, garlic and alcoholic beverages.

"Although we only have a small number of old speedboats, we're sometimes supported by local people who lend their faster speed boats to our operation," Allagan said.

In order to meet the needs of the Coast Guard, City Police Chief Maj. Gen. Mochammad Hindarto has planned to provide more modern and faster boats in the near future, he said.

"If not, we'll be the ones chased by the smugglers," Allagan said. (bsr)