Indonesia intercepts Chinese vessel in the Sunda Strait

Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency – Baklama – has intercepted a Chinese research vessel in the strategic Sunda Strait. The vessel had its AIS turned off, Baklama said. The incident followed the discovery of a suspected Chinese survey drone in the nearby Makassar Strait.

Baklama spokesman Colonel Wisnu Pramandita said that a patrol vessel intercepted Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 last Wednesday evening January 13th while it was passing through the Sunda Strait.

Because of bad weather the vessel was not boarded, but in a radio exchange the crew of the Xiang Yang Hong claimed that their AIS was malfunctioning, the colonel said.

The patrol vessel escorted the Xiang Yang Hong out of the Indonesian EEZ.

AIS data showed that the Xiang Yang Hong left China’s Hainan Island on January 6th, after which the AIS was received only intermittently as it headed southwards through the South China Sea and Java Sea, according to tracking provided by Pole Star.

As of January 18th the Xiang Yang Hong was under way in the Indian Ocean, broadcasting that it was under restricted manoeuvrability, moving ahead at a slow bell.

The Indonesian Navy is currently investigating the origins of an unmarked autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) found at Selayar Island, South Sulawesi late in December 2020. Selayar is located near the southern entrance of the Makassar Strait, one of the alternatives to the Strait of Malacca.

The UAV consisted of a seven-foot aluminium tube with a three-foot trailing antenna. It was discovered by a fisherman on December 26th. He reported it to local officials, who transferred it to the Indonesian Navy’s hydrography and oceanography division in Jakarta.

The device was reported to bear a strong resemblance to the Chinese Academy of Science’s Sea Wing (Haiyi) research glider. It is believed to be the third unit of its kind found in Indonesian waters, though the previous two were not given any publicity.