National

Oil slick pollutes Balikpapan
waters

Sticky situation: An oil slick, reportedly caused by leakage from a tanker, coats Batakan Beach, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. The picture was taken Monday.  (JP/Nurni Sulaiman
Sticky situation: An oil slick, reportedly caused by leakage from a tanker, coats Batakan Beach, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. The picture was taken Monday. (JP/Nurni Sulaiman

Oil slick allegedly caused by a leakage from a tanker has contaminated Balikpapan waters in East Kalimantan, endangering the mangrove forest and the fish population there, local residents and official say.

Head of local environment agency Syahrumsah Setia said on Monday his office, state oil and gas company Pertamina, France-based oil company Total E&P Indonesie, the upstream oil and gas regulator (BP Migas) and the port authorities were still trying to clean up the sludge, which has reached out to Batakan Beach, a famous tourist resort in the oil-rich East Kalimantan town.

“We suspect the oil slick was a result of a leakage from a tanker. As of 4 p.m. we haven’t found the company responsible,” Syahrumsah said.

A security guard of Kuala Batakan Cottage, Agus S Yusuf, said the black oil spill began to pollute the beach on Sunday.

“It smells bad and chokes us,” he said.

A local resident, Nia, said the pollution had caused nose itch.

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