Dragged anchor causes massive oil spill off Borneo

Dragged anchor causes massive oil spill off Borneo

An unnamed Panamanian flagged coal carrier stands accused of causing a massive 13,000 ha oil spill off Borneo this week.

Indonesia’s oil and gas director general Djoko Siswanto told reporters yesterday that a ship had dragged its anchor off the coast of the port city of Balikpapan, creating a 100 m long gash in a pipeline belonging to local energy giant Pertamina that led to the oil spill that covered more than 60 km of coastline.

Five fishermen died during the accident as the oil on the sea caught fire with the national government declaring a state of emergency.

“We suspect the pipe was dragged by the ship that caught fire,” Siswanto said, without identifying the vessel.

Cleanup operations are ongoing.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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