Two crew killed after fire on tanker carrying Pertamina fuel

The chartered vessel, MT Kristin, had 17 crew on board and was carrying 5,900 kilolitres of fuel when the fire started.

Wahyoe Boediwardhana

Wahyoe Boediwardhana

The Jakarta Post


An oil tanker carrying fuel for state oil and gas company Pertamina terminals in Bali and Lombok catches fire on March 26.(The Jakarta Post/Instagram/yashaaa_29 )

March 28, 2023

JAKARTA – Two crew members have died and one is missing after a fire broke out on an oil tanker carrying fuel to terminals on the islands of Bali and Lombok, the state energy company Pertamina said in a statement.

The chartered vessel, MT Kristin, had 17 crew on board and was carrying 5,900 kilolitres of fuel when the fire started at 2:50 p.m. local time on Sunday.

PT Pertamina International Shipping (PIS) corporate secretary Muh. Aryomekka Firdaus said the other 14 crew members had been evacuated on Sunday evening safely.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the ship’s crew and also families affected by the incident,” he said in a statement on Monday

Aryomekka said that the tanker was carrying subsidized Pertalite gasoline to Lombok and Bali.

PIS, which hired the vessel, was focussing on the search and rescue of the ship’s crew and further investigation on the cause of the incident.

He said the company continued coordinating with authorities, including port authorities, search and rescue agency, state-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) and Water and Air Police (Polairud) units

Pertamina said so far, no oil spills had been detected after the fire, though a 300-meter oil boom had been set up around the ship. The vessel was being towed to the nearest safe port on Monday.

The state oil company said there were sufficient fuel stocks at the Integrated Terminal Ampenan on Lombok and the Fuel Termina Sanggaran terminal on Bali to secure supplies to the popular tourist destinations, while fuel supplies from other areas were also being diverted.

“So far there’s no trouble in the supply. We are calling the public not to panic [over the supply],” Pertamina-subsidiary Pertamina Patra Niaga West Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara region spokesperson Taufiq Kurniawan said in a separate statement.

The tanker fire was the latest deadly incident hitting the company.

A fire at Pertamina’s fuel storage depot in Plumpang, North Jakarta, earlier this month killed 33 people with nearly a dozen more still in critical condition.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate when the fire broke out, although the local disaster mitigation agency said all evacuees had since left shelters.

Witnesses likened the fire to a bomb blast after an initial explosion sent panicked locals screaming and fleeing through narrow roads with the fireball lighting up the Jakarta skyline behind them.

In response, Pertamina apologized and one of its directors was removed from his post. The state-owned firm said a pipe leak had been detected before the fire started. But criticism over the blast has forced the government to consider relocating the facility or the residents who live next to it.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited survivors and called on Jakarta’s governor and ministers to find a solution to fuel depots located near residential areas to avoid a repeat disaster.

Pertamina’s director Nicke Widyawati told reporters last week the depot could not be relocated immediately as it may disrupt the national fuel supply.

The fire was one of several that have broken out at the company’s facilities in recent years.

A massive blaze broke out in 2021 at the Balongan refinery in West Java, also owned by Pertamina and one of Indonesia’s biggest such facilities. That same depot saw fires in 2009 and again in 2014 when the flames spread to 40 houses nearby. No casualties were reported in either of those cases. (dre)

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