Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (Antara NTT) - Indonesia has continued to study the impact of the explosion of the Montara oil rig spilling oil causing heavy pollution in the Timor sea in 2009.
Earlier this month, Dr Widodo Pranowo, head of the Marine and Fishery Research Center reported data about the extent of damage caused by the pollution in Indonesian territory to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan at a meeting in Jakarta on the Montana tragedy, Ferdi Tanoni, chairman of a team of advocacy of victims of the Montana disaster, told reporters here on Tuesday.
Tanoni, who was present at the meeting, said the Sea Observation and Research Center has continued to monitor the impact of the Montara explosion since early September, 2009.
He said the results of scientific analysis showed that the dispersion of the oil pollution is wide and had reached area around 68,000 kilometers southeast of the island of Rote by September 10 in 2009.
The sea pollution is feared to expand getting closer to the island of Rote, he said. The explosion in August 2009 spilled 500,000 liters of crude oil per day to the sea, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Luhut Pandjaitan was quoted as saying earlier that after seven years there was still no resolution for those affected by the worst oil spill in the history of Australia's offshore petroleum fields.
Fishermen and seaweed farmers in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT)say fish populations were wiped out and seaweed crops died after oil spilled as a result of an explosion at the Montara rig, operated by oil company PTTEP Australasia.
"There is no solution so far and the victims are fishermen in the area. Australia should help out as well to solve this problem," Luhut said, adding , "I don't think we can do it alone."
More than 13,000 seaweed farmers have launched a US$200 million class action in the Federal Court in Sydney against PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil company PTTEP.
"We will see what we can do together with the Australian government. Why are we so quiet about this big disaster in our territory when this happened somewhere else? It is annoying," Luhut has said.
PTTEP maintains its position that no oil from Montara reached the shores of Indonesia or Australia and that no long-term damage was done to the environment in the Timor Sea.
An Indonesian official said the Australian Government is not under any legal obligation, but they should also be able to encourage PTTEP to act in good faith.
"PTTEP has never shown good faith in settling this matter. We have met more than 10 times with them, including on the establishment of an independent panel of three persons. However, PTTEP refused to attend the meeting that was aimed at settling the oil spill," he said.