Indonesian seafarers have lambasted the Government for its failure to control the operation of foreign fishing vessels, which they say has contributed to a surge in HIV/AIDS in Papua and Maluku.
The Jakarta Post reports the Indonesian Seafarers' Association, which recently conducted a study on the fishing industry in the region, says the presence of foreign fishing vessels is out of control.
It says this is not only causing only financial losses but also a health disaster, with an increasing number of locals contracting HIV/AIDS from foreign sailors stopping at fishing ports in the region.
The Association says the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Navy are unable to control the foreign fishing vessels, especially those fishing illegally.
It says their study shows the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases is in port towns.
Official statistics show HIV/AIDS cases have been increasing throughout Indonesia, with at least 300,000 people reportedly living with HIV/AIDS at present, but the true figure may be much higher.