Indonesia: Pertamina to give victims’ families Rp 200m

N. Adri The Jakarta Post 12 Apr 18;

State-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina plans to give the families of five people who were killed in a recent Balikpapan oil spill in East Kalimantan Rp 200 million (US$14,521) for compensation.

Pertamina regional manager for communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) Yudi Nugraha said he hoped the money could be disbursed as soon as possible.

Five Balikpapan residents died following an oil spill that triggered a fire on March 31, namely Wahyu Gusti Anggoro, 27, Imam Nurokhim, 41, Agus Salim, 42, Suyono, 45, and Sutoyo, 52.

The five men had been fishing when they were trapped in the fire in the middle of Balikpapan Bay.

The family of Suyono also received Rp 160 million in insurance money from PT Jasa Indonesia.

“We handled the fishermen’s insurance,” said the head of Balikpapan’s Marine, Fisheries and Agriculture Agency, Yosmianto.

Fishermen insurance is part of the agency’s program and some of the participants’ premiums are subsidized by government funds. But Suyono claimed he was paying the money out-of-pocket.

Siti Maghfiratul Jannah, 27, the widow of Wahyu, said her husband’s life could not be replaced. She said if any legal action were taken against Pertamina, she would be willing to serve as a witness.

Authorities continue to investigate the parties responsible for the oil spill and fire.

Although the oil had come from Pertamina’s burst pipeline, a government official said the spill was not Pertamina’s fault.

“The pipe was allegedly dragged by an anchor dropped by a vessel, though no vessel was permitted to drop anchor or even pass through the bay,” Djoko Siswanto, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s oil and gas director general, told reporters on April 5 in Jakarta.

Wahyu’s sister, Yuli Prasetya Ningrum, said she would let the authorities decide who was responsible for the fatal tragedy.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pertamina said they would wait until the investigation into the oil spill was complete to decide whether it would financially compensate the families of the five fishermen.

On April 9, lawmakers in Jakarta demanded that Pertamina provide the families with compensation.

On Wednesday, Yudi said the company would focus on “mitigating the impact of the oil spill”. The program is under the company’s CSR, he said.

Separately, City Secretary Sayid MN Fadli said the administration was studying the need for compensation, both for human casualties and environmental damages.

He added that the administration’s study was in line with the Balikpapan Council’s call for residents to file a class action. (evi)

Hazardous, toxic waste pollutes beaches in Balikpapan Bay
The Jakarta Post 12 Apr 18;

Beaches along Balikpapan Bay in East Kalimantan are heavily polluted with oil spilled from a burst undersea pipeline of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, the Environment and Forestry Ministry concluded in its assessment of the incident.

Citing results of a survey conducted on 12.6 kilometers of coastline along Balikpapan Bay - from Lamuru Beach to Banua Patra Beach - Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said her team concluded that hazardous and toxic waste (categorized as B3 waste) had contaminated 29,734 square meters of the 12.6 square kilometers of beach areas.

“We estimate that the soil volume contaminated with B3 waste amounts to 12,145 cubic meters,” said Sitti in a written statement Thursday.

The minister added that the team would collect samples in all of the affected locations on Thursday to assess the volume of contaminants that had polluted the area.

“In those locations, we need to carry out detailed assessments to devise a recovery action plan,” said Siti.

She further said that, in the western part of Balikpapan Bay, the areas affected by the oil spill were those from Melawai to Balang Island. Delineation would be conducted in those locations on Thursday.

On March 31, a pipeline used to transfer crude oil from the Law-Lawe Terminal in North Penajam Paser regency burst and caused the oil to spill and pollute Balikpapan Bay, which also led to a fire that broke out near Panama-flagged coal cargo vessel MV Ever Judger 2. The incident injured a crew member of the vessel and killed 5 fishermen who were caught up in the fire. (dpk/ebf)

Pertamina supports prosecution of parties responsible for oil spill
N.Adri The Jakarta Post 13 Apr 18;

State oil and gas company Pertamina president director Elia Massa Manik has expressed full support of the East Kalimantan Police's handling of an oil spill in Balikpapan Bay on March 31.

Pertamina recently discovered that the oil spill occurred after the company’s undersea pipeline in Balikpapan Bay was ruptured and moved 120 meters from its initial position. The 3.6-kilometer pipeline, which has a pressure level of 167 psi, was used to channel crude oil from a terminal in Lawe-Lawe to an oil refinery in Balikpapan.

“We support efforts to reveal what caused the rupture in the pipeline. We support the ongoing law enforcement process so that the problem becomes clear and will not result in further speculation,” said Manik in Balikpapan on Thursday.

(Read also: Balikpapan oil spill: What we know and don’t know)

Manik said the pipeline in Balikpapan Bay was not equipped with technology to detect problems. “Improving the system is a must. We will evaluate it,” said Manik.

East Kalimantan Police special crimes director Sr. Comr. Yustan Alpiani said the burst pipeline, which is 12.7 millimeters in thickness and 50 centimeters in diameter, was key to revealing the cause of the incident, which lead to a sea fire that claimed the lives of five people.

“We are striving to lift the pipeline as requested by investigators of the National Police’s forensics laboratory,” he said. (ebf)