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Indonesia says Australia responsible for ecosystem damage from Montara oil spill

Christian Fernsby |
The Indonesia government said Australia was responsible for the ecosystem damage in Indonesian waters resulting from the 2009 Montara oil spill off western Australia, a senior Indonesian official said on Thursday.

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Indonesia rejected Australia's claim that a unit of Thailand's giant PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) was responsible for the damage after its Montara drilling rig off Australia's northwest coast exploded in 2009, triggering about 30,000 barrels of oil spill into the Timor Sea for over 74 days.

Deputy for Maritime Authority of Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry Purbaya Yudhi Sadewa said as the regulator which controlled the operation of PTTEP, the Australian government has responsibility on the case.

Besides, both Australia and Indonesia have ratified the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea, indicating that both governments are obliged to mitigate the risks of pollution in Indonesian waters, said Sadewa.

An Indonesian task force, set up in August 2018 to settle the dispute, will leave for Canberra to discuss with Australian authorities to seek a solution for the problem, said Sadewa, who chairs the task force.

"We will ask the Australian government to prepare officials linked with the case to sit together to find out solution for the case," he told a press conference.

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