Oil spill incident not Pertamina’s fault: Official
Viriya P. Singgih
The Jakarta Post
The government has stated there was no human error on the part of state-owned energy giant Pertamina in the recent oil spill incident in Balikpapan Bay, East Kalimantan, as the event was triggered by the action of a foreign coal vessel that illegally passed through and dropped anchor in the bay.
Pertamina previously discovered that one of its pipelines was dragged 120 meters from its initial location, causing it to break and spill oil in Balikpapan Bay last Saturday.
“The pipe was allegedly dragged by an anchor dropped by a vessel, though no vessel was permitted to drop anchor or even pass through the bay,” Djoko Siswanto, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s oil and gas director general, told reporters on Thursday.
The Transportation Ministry has previously stated that the vessel passing through Balikpapan Bay was the Panama-flagged MV Ever Judger.
“So, this was actually the fault of the vessel. [...] As there were casualties in the incident, the owner of the vessel could be charged for the crime. But it all still depends on the results of the ongoing investigation,” Djoko said.
Meanwhile, he also said there had been no disruption to the operations of and fuel supply from the Balikpapan oil refinery owned by Pertamina after the oil spill incident.
From Saturday to Wednesday, the oil refinery was forced to utilize its old crude stock, while Pertamina had already connected the facility with another pipeline with a diameter of 16 inches on Wednesday to replace the 20-inch pipeline that was damaged in the incident. (bbn)
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