International environmental group Greenpeace has demanded that state oil and gas company Pertamina take full responsibility and come up with a transparent and comprehensive plan to address a recent oil spill in Balikpapan Bay, which has killed five people and posed health and environmental hazards in the area. The government reported that the spill had spread across around 12,900 hectares of fishing waters, larger than the size of Bogor city in West Java.
On April 4, Pertamina admitted that the spill came from its leaked undersea pipelines, connecting the Lawe-Lawe Terminal to their refinery unit in Balikpapan.
“The statement alone is not enough. As a priority, Greenpeace urges Pertamina to take full responsibility and be held accountable for the oil spill and all its impacts. The Indonesian government must now prioritize recovery efforts, as well as implement long-term measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia oceans campaigner Arifsyah Nasution said in a release made available over the weekend.
Yudi Tobs from Coalition Against Oil Spills (KMPTM) said his group regretted the "poor action" taken by Pertamina. "The company failed to warn authorities and communities when the incident happened," he said in the same release.
The coalition planned to take legal action, he added. "According to Indonesian Law No. 32 on environmental protection and management, Pertamina should take full responsibility. Polluters should pay!” Yudi said.
The government has come to Pertamina's defense, saying that there was no human error on the part of Pertamina, as the event was triggered by the action of a foreign coal vessel that illegally passed through and dropped anchor in the bay.
Pertamina has been cleaning the bay and the Makassar Strait since last week. On April 8, Balikpapan environmental agency official Suryanto said the cleaning process had reached 90 percent toward completion. (evi)
Source: News Desk / The Jakarta Post
9 April 2018