Emergency declared after Balikpapan oil spill on sea ecosystem


Indonesia has declared a state of emergency around a port on Borneo island, officials said on Tuesday, after a large oil spill spread along the coast.

Disaster mitigation officials were able to control the blaze in the port city of Balikpapan but were still working to contain the spill, which started on Saturday. The spill has now spread over an area of 18 sq km in the Balikpapan city. It is contaminating the sea and polluting the air with thick black smoke, The Guardian reported.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s research and human resources agency head Zulficar Mochtar said the oil spill in Balikpapan Bay, East Kalimantan had become a complicated problem as the ministry had received reports that the incident had caused pollution in other areas such in Bintan, Riau Islands and Jakarta Bay.

“This sea pollution cannot be solved alone [by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry]. All ministries and related parties need to contribute to preventing this problem from worsening, with each party having their own function,” said Zulficar as quoted by kompas.com on Thursday.