Indonesia Requests Compensation for Bitumen Spill
Indonesia’s environmental ministry has asked the owner of the MT Aashi vessel, which sank and spilled bitumen off the west coast of Indonesia in mid-February, to compensate for environmental losses and undertake coastal and marine restoration.
The vessel carrying around 1,900t of bitumen ran aground on 11 February following a leak in the right side of the hull because of strong waves and the rusty condition of the ship. The leaking vessel spilled bitumen which spread 50km to the protected marine area of the North Nias Regency in North Sumatra province, the ministry said in a statement in early March.
Law enforcement agencies under the ministry, along with an expert team, conducted a verification at the crash site on 25 February. The investigation was done in the waters of the Humene Sihene’asi village in North Sumatra, the statement said.
The team has been instructed to carry out law enforcement efforts to get MT Aashi to compensate for environmental losses and carry out coastal and marine restoration because of spillage of the cargo, said the director general of law enforcement at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ratio Ridho Sani.
But the statement also said that the environmental ministry will facilitate the settlement of environmental disputes “out of court” because of community losses based on requests from affected communities.
“We consider that out-of-court environmental dispute resolution is more effective in saving environmental losses/affected communities because the settlement process takes relatively faster time and costs less,” said the director of environmental dispute resolution, Jasmin Ragil Utomo.
The process of resolving the environmental disputes regarding the grounding of the vessel will be done in stages and will be held outside of court. The proceedings will involve further clarifications on the incident and then the calculation of losses and the due settlement process.
The MT Aashi was carrying Middle East origin bulk bitumen into Indonesia at the time of grounding, market participants told Argus. Further details about the cargo could not be determined at the time of writing.