An underwater pipeline owned by Indonesia state oil company Pertamina cracked due to it being dragged by a coal carrier’s anchor, says the Oil and Gas Director of Indonesia’s energy ministry.
“We suspect the pipe was dragged by the ship that caught fire,” Oil and Gas Director General Djoko Siswanto told reporters on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.
“At the time it was bad weather, so they had to drop anchor,” he said, adding it was in an area where ships were not supposed to anchor.
He did not identify the vessel which dropped anchor, but said it was a Panama-flagged coal carrier.
The incident caused oil to leak from the pipeline, resulting in a spill which covered nearly 13,000 hectares and polluted 60 km of coastal ecosystems.
Pertamina initially claimed oil spill was marine fuel, but changed its assessment on Wednesday by admitting the oil originated from a cracked 20-year-old underwater pipeline linked to its Balikpapan refinery.
Siswanto, meanwhile, said the Indonesian government is investigating the company that owned the vessel suspected of breaking Pertamina’s pipeline.
The shipowner will be questioned and could be charged over the deaths resulting from the spill, he said.
“It depends on who was to blame. It depends on the investigation,” he said.
The city of Balikpapan entered a state of emergency on Monday due to emissions from the oil spill fire which to date claimed five lives.
Photo credit: Jakarta Post
Published: 6 April, 2018
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