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Jakarta Post

Montara oil spill brought suffering to E. Nusa Tenggara: Farmer

Montara oil spill brought suffering to E. Nusa Tenggara: Farmer Heavily polluted -- A dead fish floats in heavily polluted waters in the Timor Sea. A 2009 oil spill had devastating impacts on thousands of fishermen and seaweed farmers in East Nusa Tenggara. (Tempo/-)
Djemi Amnifu
Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara   ●   Thu, August 4, 2016

Daniel Sanda, a seaweed farmer from East Nusa Tenggara, could not hide his happiness about the fact that the case of the Montara rig oil spill in the Timor Sea would finally be brought to court.

Daniel said he and all seaweed farmers in the province had experienced losses and suffering after their seaweed plots had been ruined following the oil spill in 2009. They could no longer afford school tuition fees for their children, among other things.

Representing 13,000 East Nusa Tenggara seaweed farmers affected by the Montara oil spill, Daniel and Ferdi Tanoni, heading the Care for West Timor Foundation (YPTB)’s advocacy team, filed a class action lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia as the owner of the oil rig over its alleged failure to take responsibility for the incident.

(Read also : Australia-Indonesia maritime boundary treaty must be annuled: activist)

Ferdi said that holding an advocacy mandate from the local people and administrations in the province, he felt relieved that the Montara oil leak case would be brought to court. He was satisfied that the local people affected by the incident could finally file a lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia with the Federal Court of Australia.

“Today, their voices have arrived on the Australian court’s desk. For around seven years, I’ve been working with them and striving to fight for their rights and justice over what they have suffered. And through hard work, I met with Greg Phelps, who then met with people from the Maurice Blackburn Lawyers office and Harbour Litigation Funder that has agreed to fund this case,” said Ferdi in a press conference after the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney accepted the class action lawsuit, on Wednesday. He said the Indonesian government fully supported the case. (ebf)