May 5, 2023
JAKARTA – The coastal area of Kampung Melayu Nongsa in Batam, Riau Islands, has been contaminated by oil spills that authorities have said was from a tanker that caught fire in Malaysian waters on Monday.
Riau Islands head of special crime Sr. Comr. Nasriadi said that based on satellite data, the oil spills were from a Gabonese-flagged tanker that caught fire in the Outside Port Limits (OPL) waters inside the Malaysian border.
“We will coordinate with the environment agency and with the harbormaster and port authority office (KSOP) to pump out the waste using tanker trucks because the KSOP’s ship is unable to dock,” said Nasriadi.
The police said the spills occurred in three locations, which were located in the eastern OPL with an estimated spill area of 13.7 square kilometers.
Nasriadi said the MT Pablo tanker ship was sailing on the China-Singapore route when it caught fire.
Khairul Bahri, a local community leader, said the black oil waste began to contaminate the coast on Wednesday morning.
“We have not been able to carry out our usual activities because the black oil has damaged our fishing nets,” said Khairul.
Khairul said every year, usually during the strong winds season, the Batam coastline was contaminated by oil waste originating from tankers disposing of their waste illegally.
“Every time waste like this reaches Batam, the fishermen here are unable to earn a living temporarily and it could last a week,” said Khairul.
Khairul hopes that the government will step in to investigate the disposal of black oil waste that often occurs in Batam.
Last month, a crew member was killed, two others injured and one reported missing after a fire broke out on a Malaysian-flagged tanker in the Outside Port Limits (OPL) waters between Indonesia and Malaysia on Monday.
Multi tanker Tiger Star was on its way from Johor, Malaysia, to the OPL when a fire occurred in the ship’s engine room and on deck. (dre/gev)