Indonesian authorities and the Vietnamese Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday completed the necessary paperwork to release 690 Vietnamese citizens who had been detained for illegal fishing, according to Vietnam News Agency.
It is scheduled to be the largest release of Vietnamese fishermen in history.
Authorities from both countries are finalizing procedures for the fishermen to be released as planned, said Nguyen Thanh Giang, a consular official.
The fishermen are expected to be released this Friday from Indonesia’s Batam Island, and will be transported home by three Vietnam Coast Guard ships.
Transporting them by sea is the safest and most efficient way of returning such a large number of fishermen to Vietnam, according to Hoang Anh Tuan, Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia.
If the fishermen were to return to Vietnam by air, it would take at least until the end of the year to bring them all home.
This is the sixth group of Vietnamese fishermen to be released by Indonesia so far this year, bringing the total to 1,030.
Hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested for illegal fishing in recent years in the waters of nearby countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Vietnam’s Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department is trying to raise awareness about maritime boundaries and international maritime laws, and conducts frequent patrols to prevent potential violations.