Category Archives: News

Indonesia continues to study impact of Montara oil pollution

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has continued to study the impact of the explosion of the Montara oil rig spilling oil causing heavy pollution in the Timor sea in 2009.

Earlier this month, Dr Widodo Pranowo, head of the Marine and Fishery Research Center reported data about the extent of damage caused by the pollution in Indonesian territory to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan at a meeting in Jakarta on the Montana tragedy, Ferdi Tanoni, chairman of a team of advocacy of victims of the Montana disaster, told reporters here on Tuesday.

Tanoni, who was present at the meeting, said the Sea Observation and Research Center has continued to monitor the impact of the Montara explosion since early September, 2009.

He said the results of scientific analysis showed that the dispersion of the oil pollution is wide and had reached area around 68,000 kilometers southeast of the island of Rote by September 10 in 2009.

The sea pollution is feared to expand getting closer to the island of Rote, he said.

The explosion in August 2009 spilled 500,000 liters of crude oil per day to the sea, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Luhut Pandjaitan was quoted as saying earlier that after seven years there was still no resolution for those affected by the worst oil spill in the history of Australias offshore petroleum fields.

Fishermen and seaweed farmers in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT)say fish populations were wiped out and seaweed crops died after oil spilled as a result of an explosion at the Montara rig, operated by oil company PTTEP Australasia.

"There is no solution so far and the victims are fishermen in the area. Australia should help out as well to solve this problem," Luhut said, adding , "I dont think we can do it alone."

More than 13,000 seaweed farmers have launched a US$200 million class action in the Federal Court in Sydney against PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil company PTTEP.

"We will see what we can do together with the Australian government. Why are we so quiet about this big disaster in our territory when this happened somewhere else? It is annoying," Luhut has said.

PTTEP maintains its position that no oil from Montara reached the shores of Indonesia or Australia and that no long-term damage was done to the environment in the Timor Sea.

An Indonesian official said the Australian Government is not under any legal obligation, but they should also be able to encourage PTTEP to act in good faith.

"PTTEP has never shown good faith in settling this matter. We have met more than 10 times with them, including on the establishment of an independent panel of three persons. However, PTTEP refused to attend the meeting that was aimed at settling the oil spill," he said.

Source: Antara News

Indonesia to sue PTTEP eight years after Montara oil spill

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has decided to file a civil lawsuit against PTT Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP) Australasia in April 2017 over an oil spill in Timor Sea in East Nusa Tenggara that occurred eight years ago.

The explosion that took place on August 21, 2009, in the Montara oil field, which was operated by Thailand-based PTTEP Australasia in Timor Sea, had resulted in an oil spill that contaminated the Timor Sea.

Following the incident, fishermen in Oesapa in the district of Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, found thousands of dead fish floating in the Timor Sea.

During the August-November 2009 period, the Montara well leaked uncontrollably for more than 70 days, destroying fish stocks in the Indonesian territory.

The explosion in August 2009 spilled 500 thousand liters of crude oil per day into the sea, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

As a consequence, 40 million liters of crude oil were released into the Australian waters and eventually spread to the Indonesian maritime area. An area spanning some 70,341.76 square kilometers of the Timor Sea bordering the East Nusa Tenggara Province was polluted.

In mid-January of 2010, the leak was finally plugged and secured permanently. However, during the first year of the Montara oil spill-triggered pollution, fish catches from the Timor Sea waters dropped by 80 percent.

After eight years, however, there is still no resolution for those affected by the worst oil spill in the history of Australias offshore petroleum fields.

"There is no solution so far, and the victims are fishermen in the area. Australia should help out as well to solve this problem," Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.

"I dont think we can do it alone," minister added.

Over 13 thousand seaweed farmers have launched a US$200 million class-action suit in the Federal Court in Sydney against PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil company PTTEP.

"We will see what can be done together with the Australian government. Why are we so quiet regarding this huge disaster in our territory when this happened somewhere else? It is annoying," Pandjaitan had remarked.

The government is currently preparing a plan to sue the Thailand-based company, which is not willing to take responsibility for the sea pollution.

"This concerns Indonesias sovereignty and the fate of the people whose livelihood depends on the maritime area. Hence, we must fight through better-planned ways," Basilio Dias Araujo, assistant to the Deputy in Charge of Security, Resilience of Maritime of the Office of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, noted in a statement recently.

"The government has demanded compensation from PTTEP through the non-litigation way, but the negotiations had reached a deadlock in 2012, thereby resulting in no agreement," he pointed out.

In 2016, some 13 thousand seaweed farmers from East Nusa Tenggara, represented by a lawyer from the Maurice Blackburn legal firm, filed a class-action lawsuit in an Australian federal court.

They claimed that the Montara oil spill had damaged the seaweed and affected their health. The class-action lawsuit was accepted by the court five months later.

PTTEP Australasia harbored no good will of providing compensation to the victims of the oil spill and even denied polluting the Timor Sea.

The government is currently collecting evidence and has called 50 experts to support the efforts.

Since February 2017, several meetings have been organized by the office of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs by inviting the relevant officials of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry, Attorney Generals Office, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, and National Institute of Aeronautics and Space.

By the end of this March, they plan to conduct a field visit to East Nusa Tenggara.

Earlier this month, Dr Widodo Pranowo, head of the Marine and Fishery Research Center, presented data regarding the extent of damage caused by the pollution in the Indonesian territory to Pandjaitan at a meeting held in Jakarta on the Montana tragedy.

Ferdi Tanoni, chairman of an advocacy team of the victims of the Montana disaster, informed reporters in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Mar 28 that the Sea Observation and Research Center has continued to monitor the impact of the Montara explosion since early September 2009.

PTTEP, however, has maintained its position that no oil from Montara had reached the shores of Indonesia or Australia and that no long-term damage was caused to the environment in the Timor Sea.

The Australian government is not under any legal obligation, but it should also be able to encourage PTTEP to act in good faith.

"PTTEP has never shown good faith in settling this matter. We have met them more than 10 times, including on the establishment of an independent panel comprising three people. However, PTTEP refused to attend the meeting aimed at settling the oil spill problem," Tanoni added.

Source: Antara News

N. Sulawesi governor explores cooperation with intl manpower Japan

Manado (ANTARA News) - North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey explored cooperation with International Manpower Japan during a visit to Japan on Sunday (Mar 26).

"The governor met President of the International Manpower Japan Yanagisawa to discuss cooperation in an apprenticeship program," Victor Rarung, a staff member of the Provincial Public Communication team, stated here on Monday.

During the visit to Japan, Governor Olly met students from North Sulawesi who are participating in the internship program.

"The interns will receive employment benefits worth Rp15 million per month in addition to working capital after completing the apprenticeship program," he explained.

Victor noted that the students had lauded the governor for taking serious steps to organize the internship program in Japan.

The apprentices pointed out that they had gained significant knowledge, including on work ethics, and were educated on the Japanese-style discipline of work.

The internship program is a collaboration between the Ministry of Manpower, the International Manpower Japan, and the North Sulawesi provincial administration.

Victor explained that the students interested in participating in the internship program would need to undergo several tests, including in mathematics, physical and medical examinations, as well as an interview.

Students meeting the qualification norms will undergo a pre-apprenticeship training for two months at the Centre for Vocational and Extension Service Training before leaving for Japan.

In Japan, they will participate in an education program for a month before working in the internship program for three years.

Source: Antara News

Urban population growth needs adequate housing: Sri Mulyani

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the increased urban population should be balanced by adequate housing supply to support economic growth.

"If we want to have sustainable domestic economic growth, which is healthy, and high purchasing power, housing development strategy is crucial," Sri Mulyani stated here on Monday.

According to the minister, urban population growth in Indonesia has reached 4.1 percent, higher than other developing countries such as China (3.8 percent) and India (3.1 percent), which also faced the problem of urbanization.

Therefore, adequate housing in urban areas is urgently needed to provide multiplier effect to the domestic economy.

"We need more houses because of the urbanization process and high urban population growth. Housing sector would provide a huge multiplier effect, as it can boost the economy," she remarked.

Sri Mulyani noted that housing demand in Indonesia has reached 820 thousand to one million houses a year.

Some 40 percent of the demand could be met through the involvement of private sector, 40 percent though independent wealthy citizens, and some 20 percent through the governments subsidy to poor people.

The government in 2016 had allocated Rp24.4 trillion of its state budget for the development of 21,763 units of apartments and 158,367 stimulant assistances for housing quality improvement.

In 2017, the number of apartments has increased to 13,253 units and stimulant assistances to 108 thousand for housing quality improvement.

The government has also provided Rp9.2 trillion of funds for 83,493 low-income families in 2016 and Rp9.7 trillion of funds for 175 thousand low-income families in 2017 through Housing Finance Fund Management Center (PPDPP).

As of now, state-owned secondary mortgage company PT Sarana Multigriya Finansial (SMF) has received Rp27.39 trillion of funding, including Rp1 trillion of state capital participation (PMN) in 2017, for 570 thousand lenders.

"Under the state budget instrument, we hope we can support the remarkable growth of housing with unequal public and regional incomes," Sri Mulyani remarked.

Source: Antara News

Navy foils attempt to smuggle hundreds of tons of fuel

Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team of the Naval Base IV had foiled an attempt to smuggle 100 tons of black oil and 190 tons of diesel oil from the waters of Sambu Island in Riau Islands province on Friday.

The fuel was hidden in the hold of Motor Vessel Kawaranae-3, Commander of the Naval Base IV Commodore S Irawan stated at the Yos Sudarso pier in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands province.

Irawan believed that the illegal fuel came from one of companies in Kabil in the industrialized island of Batam.

"The vessel should have transported passengers instead of carrying the illegal fuel. Therefore, we seized it," he added.

The owner of the motor vessel had modified the 265 GT vessel from a passenger motor vessel into a motor tanker to cheat naval personnel, he remarked.

If the vessel was to be used to transport fuel, it must secure a fuel transportation permit in the form of a class certificate from the Indonesian Classification Bureau (BKI), he pointed out.

Based on the results of the investigation, the crew members of the vessel admitted that the distribution of illegal fuel was conducted from one ship to another.

The location to distribute the illegal fuel from one ship to another would always change in order to hide the smuggling activity from naval personnel.

"MV Kawaranae-3 has long been the target of raid conducted by the WFQR team," he revealed.

Source: Antara News

Navy foils attempt to smuggle hundreds of tons of fuel

Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) team of the Naval Base IV had foiled an attempt to smuggle 100 tons of black oil and 190 tons of diesel oil from the waters of Sambu Island in Riau Islands province on Friday.

The fuel was hidden in the hold of Motor Vessel Kawaranae-3, Commander of the Naval Base IV Commodore S Irawan stated at the Yos Sudarso pier in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands province.

Irawan believed that the illegal fuel came from one of companies in Kabil in the industrialized island of Batam.

"The vessel should have transported passengers instead of carrying the illegal fuel. Therefore, we seized it," he added.

The owner of the motor vessel had modified the 265 GT vessel from a passenger motor vessel into a motor tanker to cheat naval personnel, he remarked.

If the vessel was to be used to transport fuel, it must secure a fuel transportation permit in the form of a class certificate from the Indonesian Classification Bureau (BKI), he pointed out.

Based on the results of the investigation, the crew members of the vessel admitted that the distribution of illegal fuel was conducted from one ship to another.

The location to distribute the illegal fuel from one ship to another would always change in order to hide the smuggling activity from naval personnel.

"MV Kawaranae-3 has long been the target of raid conducted by the WFQR team," he revealed.

Source: Antara News