Subject: Australian Oil Company Sued over Timor Sea spill

Australian Oil Company Sued

The number of catches gained by traditional fishermen has dropped dramatically.

SELASA, 4 MEI 2010, 17:48 WIB

Amril Amarullah

VIVAnews - Australian Investigation Commission on oil spill case had received a letter sent by West Timor Care Foundation (YPTB) on chemical contamination on the Timor Sea, which was originated from the explosion in the field of Montora, Australia on August 21, 2009.

The claim was filed by YPTB legal adviser Christine Mason in Canbera, Australia on Friday, April 30, 2010.

YPTB Director Ferdi Tanoni said the complaint was submitted to the Australian Commission of Inquiry after the Indonesian government was considered not paying enough attention to the case that has harmed more than 200 thousand fishermen and coastal communities in East Nusa Tenggara.

"Due to the complicated procedure between the central government, local authorities and the National Team for Sea Oil Spill Emergency Responses, YPTB has decided to file the charges by themselves," Tanoni said.

Along with the submission of the data, YPTB has also presented a full investigation report on ecological and economic losses suffered by the societies of West Timor, Rote Ndao, Savu, Sumba, Flores, Lembata and Alor.

Tanoni also said this week an Independent Team for Timor Sea would be formed with the involvement of experts in oceanology, international laws, geology, fisheries, environment, economy and others.

In the wake of the incident, the number of catches gained by traditional fishermen has dropped dramatically due to the great number of dead fish. Thousands of tons of fishes such as sharks, whales and many other fish species were reportedly dead. In addition, the productions of seaweed in coastal communities of East Nusa Tenggara suddenly come to a halt due to the contamination of crude oil.

Tanoni pointed out that approximately 38.15 percent of Indonesian waters on Timor Sea has been polluted due to the burst of crude oil from oil wells in Montara Oil Block in West Atlas Block on August 21, 2009.

"Due to the explosion of Montara oil field, about 500,000 liters of oil is spitted out into the Timor Sea that will take decades to clean up," he said.

In fact, the results of laboratory analysis by the University of Indonesia and Universitas Nusa Cendana Kupang reveal that the portion of oil contaminating Timor Sea has reached 0.28 mg / liter while the amount of oil taken using samples from the seaweed has reached 3.64 mg / liter. Tin substances obtained using sea water samples is known to reach 35.26 mg / liter while the ones taken using seaweed samples has reached 29.26 mg / liter.

"The effects of these substances will cause acute long-term of lead poisoning in central nervous system, binding active groups in erythrocyte, which would hamper the formation of the blood as well as other negative impacts," Tanoni said.


Coverage by: Jemris Fointuna | Kupang Translated by: Nataya Ermanti


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