Indonesian government urged Australia to immediately resolve a legal case for an Montara oil spill that affected societies in East Nusa Tenggara - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian government urged Australia to immediately resolve a legal case for an Montara oil spill that affected societies in East Nusa Tenggara to the coastal areas of Indonesia on August 21, 2009, said government official on Thursday (04/11).

Oil spills with a volume of more than 23 million liters flowed into the Timor Sea for 74 days, with an area reaching 92 thousand square meters.

According to the Chairperson of the Montara Task Force Purbaya Yudhi Sadhewa, the oil spill case itself took place when the oil platform at the Montara field owned by a Thailand company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), exploded off the continental shelf of Australia 10 years ago.

Therefore, Sadhewa stressed, the Indonesian envoy would leave for Canberra to hold a meeting with the Australian government which is expected to occur on April 20-27 2019.

“We emphasize that the government is not ignorant of the fate of fishermen affected by the Montara oil spill. We will visit Australia and ask the Australian government to be responsible for overcoming the impact of the polluted Timor Sea in 2009,” he stated.

Data from the Task Force showed that there are 13 districts in East Nusa Tenggara affected by the Montara-oil spill case. However, only two regions have been calculated in real terms, namely Kupang and Rote Ndao regency. There are still 11 districts that are still in arrears.

Actually, there was a memorandum of understanding between Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty and Indonesian Minister of Transportation Freddy Numberi in 2010 as the starting point for the completion of the Montara oil spill case. In the agreement, Australia expressed willingness to help. But until now there was no clarity.

On the other hand, Indonesia and Australia have also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Sea. According to the agreement, the two countries have the responsibility to deal with the effects of pollution in the Indonesian sea as stipulated in article 192, 193 and 195 of the convention.

Sadhewa added, related to the lawsuit carried out domestically, his party was collecting samples. So far, the samples tested are still small because there are financing constraints so that from 31 samples taken only 11 are running. If this is ready, they will submit it again to the court.

Meanwhile, Indonesia also will not carry out an out-of-court settlement with a Thailand’ PTTEP. Sadhewa acknowledged, folowed a meeting between Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha in 2018, PTTEP representatives had discussed the possibility of a settlement out of court. But PTTEP still refused.

“I convey how if Indonesia and PTTEP appoint independent assessors, who are both agreed upon, then accept the results. Fair, right? But they don’t want to,” he explained.

PTTEP’ disapproval at that time was because they only agreed to provide compensation of US$5 million.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com