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Jakarta Post

Pertamina official named suspect in Balikpapan oil spill

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 24, 2018   /   04:20 pm
Pertamina official named suspect in Balikpapan oil spill An aerial view of Benua Patra Beach in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on April 2 shows oil pushed onto shore following an oil spill off Borneo island that led to five deaths and the declaration of a state of emergency. (AFP/-)

Police have named a chief superintendent at state oil and gas company Pertamina a suspect in the Balikpapan oil spill case in East Kalimantan.   

The suspect, identified as IS, is facing criminal charges over alleged negligence that caused the leakage of around 40,000 barrels of  Pertamina crude oil in Balikpapan Bay on March 31. The oil spill was the result of a burst underwater pipeline belonging to the company that also triggered a fire, leading to the death of five fishermen.

“It was because of negligence, we will investigate it. We suspect that he was not doing a good job. The pipe burst at 10 p.m, and it [the pump] was not closed until 8 a.m.,” the East Kalimantan Police’s special crimes director, Yustan Alpiani, said as quoted by in Balikpapan on Tuesday.

Yustan said IS had worked with Pertamina for decades and that he was responsible for controlling the pump system of underwater pipelines.

"In an emergency situation, he should have been able to stop the pump. Considering his position, experience and education, he should have known how to do that."

IS previously claimed to have no knowledge of a broken pipe. The suspect was scheduled to undergo questioning on Wednesday, but requested a postponement to May 30.  

He is the second person to be named a suspect in the case after the captain of MV Ever Judger, a Chinese citizen identified as ZD. The broken pipe had reportedly been dragged by MV Ever Judger’s anchor. (hol/ebf)