Indonesia is going through its greatest environmental catastrophe previously 10 years with the oil spill polluting the Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan, affecting the marine ecosystem in addition to coastal residents. Here’s what we all know and what we don’t concerning the incident.

What we all know to date

What occurred?


On March 31, a burst pipeline – which is used to switch crude oil from the Law-Lawe Terminal in North Penajam Paser regency to an oil refinery facility in Balikpapan – induced the oil spill that polluted Balikpapan Bay. The spill additionally led to a fireplace that broke out at midday on March 31 close to Panama-flagged coal cargo vessel MV Ever Judger 2, which was docked within the bay.

The 20-year-old pipeline belongs to state-owned oil and gasoline agency Pertamina. It is 22 to 26 meters underneath the ocean, is product of metal and has a diameter of 20 inches. The authorities claimed the pipe had moved 120 meters from its unique location.

How unhealthy is it?

The spill lined a 400-meter space of the bay at first, however then unfold to a radius of over 2 kilometers within the waters round Semayang Port to Margasari. Satellite photographs from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) on April 2 confirmed that the oil spill had lined 12,987 hectares of Balikpapan Bay, because the oil was unfold out by waves and currents.

On April 6, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry claimed that the realm affected by the spill had widened to 20,000 ha primarily based on satellite tv for pc photographs. A day later, nonetheless, the Environment and Forestry Ministry disputed the quantity, saying that the spill had solely widened from 12,987 ha to 13,559 ha.

Both the spill and the hearth had induced casualties in addition to environmental harm. The hearth that broke out quickly after the spill was found on March 31 induced the dying of 5 fishermen who had been caught within the hearth. The victims had been Sutoyo, 52, Suyono, 45, Imam Nurokhim, 41, Agus Salim, 42 and Wahyu, 27.

Apart from the fishermen, the hearth additionally injured a crew member of the vessel MV Ever Judger 2, which was docked within the bay. The vessel’s 20 different crew members had been evacuated safely from the bay.

Residents residing across the affected coastal space suffered from nausea, vomiting and suffocation from the sturdy odor. It additionally drove residents to cease cooking, fearing that the fuel-filled air would burst into flames as they turned on their stoves.

The spill additionally affected marine animals and vegetation, as activists and officers found lifeless crabs and an Irrawaddy dolphin on the coast. Balikpapan is named the house of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.

The spill additionally affected round 34 ha of mangrove bushes in Kariagau village, in addition to 6,000 mangrove bushes and a couple of,000 mangrove seeds in Atas Air Margasari village.

What we don’t know

Who is accountable for the oil spill?

Government and Pertamina officers have said the oil firm just isn’t at fault for the oil spill incident, although an investigation into it’s nonetheless underway.

Officials appear to imagine international coal vessel, MV Ever Judger, illegally handed via and dropped anchor within the bay, dragging away the pipeline. But, once more, the investigation has not been concluded and no formal expenses have been filed in opposition to anybody concerned within the incident.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has mentioned that authorized or administrative actions can be taken in opposition to these discovered responsible of inflicting the oil spill.

How lengthy will the cleanup course of take?

The Balikpapan administration and Pertamina have claimed the bay had largely been cleaned. But activists have solid doubt on their declare.

To clear up the oil, the authorities in cooperation with Pertamina deployed oil spill containment booms, that are used to gather oil on water for restoration, in addition to dispersants – chemical substances sprayed on a floor oil spill to interrupt down the oil into smaller droplets that extra readily combine with the water.

Six days after the incident, Balikpapan Environmental Agency head Suryanto claimed the cleansing course of had reached 90 p.c and the cleanup would finish…

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