Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Australian oil disaster 'costing Indonesians billions'

A study has found that contamination from one of Australia's worst oil spills is still costing Indonesian fishing villages more than $1.5 billion per year.

The Montara oil platform was in Australia's exclusive economic zone, but when the well head blew out in August 2009, the slick drifted across the Timor Sea to Indonesia.

Now the the Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies in Jakarta has produced an interim report on the damage.

It has found the oil and chemical dispersants used are still affecting marine ecosystems and costing coastal communities more than $1.5 billion per year in lost earnings.

The centre's director, Doctor Mukhtasor, says Australia, Indonesia and the Thai government-owned company involved are obligated to fund a full investigation and work out compensation.

A west Timor community spokesman, Ferdi Tamoni, says the loss of livelihood is also driving local fisherman into people smuggling. ABC - By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts

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