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Australia promises to rectify oil spill

Ambassador stresses commitment to righting damage

Ambassador Greg Moriarty says Australia wants to work with Indonesia (photo by Albertus V. Rehi) Ambassador Greg Moriarty says Australia wants to work with Indonesia (photo by Albertus V. Rehi)
  • Albertus V. Rehi, Kupang
  • Indonesia
  • September 24, 2012
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Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia has reassured people affected by the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea that his government “remains committed” to addressing the damage caused by the spill during a trip to one of the areas affected, East Nusa Tenggara province.

Speaking on Friday in the provincial capital Kupang, Greg Moriarty said Australia and Indonesia were still counting the economic cost of the disaster following a blowout three years ago at a rig operated by PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) of Thailand.

“Dialogue must be continually done between both countries in order to find the best solution to the impacts of the oil spill so that [this solution] will not harm people living in the coastal areas of the Timor Sea,” he said during a two-day trip to monitor development projects funded by AusAID.

Environmental and community groups have criticized what they say is a slow response from the Indonesian and Australian governments in addressing longer-term fallout from the spill.

Meanwhile, PTTEP has been negotiating an agreement with Jakarta to determine possible compensation for fishermen.

The accident site is located south of Pasir Island, a popular fishing area for people from East Nusa Tenggara.

The West Timor Care Foundation, a group which supports poor fishermen in the east of the country, has said previously that the livelihoods of about 18,000 fishermen had been affected by the spill.

During a court hearing in Darwin at the end of last month, PTTEP pleaded guilty to the disaster accepting charges related to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act with a maximum penalty of A$1.7 million (US1.77 million).

Related reports

Government under fire over oil spill
Governments 'dragging feet' over oil spill
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