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Jakarta Post

Decade later, justice elusive for Timor farmers impoverished by Montara oil spill

  • Djemi Amnifu

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Kupang   /   Wed, August 21, 2019   /  04:38 pm
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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/-)

The general public has possibly forgotten one of Australia’s worst oil disasters, the Montara spill in the Timor Sea a decade ago, but the effect on seaweed farmers on Timor Island remains to such an extent that they are even unable to send their children to school. A number of seaweed farmers from Tablolong village in Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara, for instance, have experienced a 98 percent drop of seaweed production because of the oil spill until now. “Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, each farmer could harvest up to 50 kilograms of seaweed daily. In comparison, recently every farmer had only been able to harvest one kilogram a day,” said seaweed farmer Yusak Pellu. The farmers still wait for justice after their economy and welfare were affected by an oil spill from a leaking rig off the northern coast of Western Australia in 2009. “The oil sp...