Oil spill reaches Indonesian coast
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Oil spill reaches Indonesian coast

A leaking oil rig off the north-western coast of Australia has been spewing oil into the marine environment for over two months.  Whilst there has been intermittent publicity about the ongoing oil spill, it certainly hasn’t galvanised wide-scale public concern in Australia. 

I have to confess that, like Northern Territory based blogger Bob Gosford, I am perplexed as to why this massive oil spill does not appear to have generated a huge amount of concern. There have been some questions asked in the Australian Senate, and the occasional media probing, but not a huge amount of detail on the environmental, economic and diplomatic consequences.

Perhaps this is because the oil slick is off the coast from a very lightly populated part of Australia, and also that much of the slick is drifting away from Australia and towards Indonesia and East Timor.  But even if the direct impact of the oil slick is felt more in parts of other countries, this is something which should be of concerns to Australians too.

Bob Gosford’s post on this topic notes a report in the Jakarta Post which among other things, states that the oil slick had reached land and damaged thousands of hectares of ready-to-harvest seaweed.

“Seaweed, which is one of the province’s prime commodities, has been polluted. If the farmers fail to harvest their seaweed, they would incur losses of up to billions of rupiah,” said the West Timor Care Foundation NGO director Ferdi Tanoni.

WWF-Australia have travelled through some of the huge areas of ocean which have now been affected by the continuing oil spill.  Details of  their findings can be found at this link.

The SkyTruth blog has done a huge number of posts on the oil spill, using lots of satellite imagery.  This blog by a former resident of East Timor also contains plenty of information  and links.

Three attempts to plug the link have already failed. Another effort is expected to be made soon.