Karawang’s salt farmers suffer losses from Pertamina’s oil spill

Karawang, W Java (ANTARA) - Salt farmers in the northern coast of Karawang, West Java, suffered Rp500-Rp700 million losses from oil spilling from Pertamina Hulu Energi Offshore North West Java (PHE ONWJ) block's oil-rig YYA-1 in the Java Sea's offshore.

"We cannot produce salt for a week, as our ponds are contaminated with crude oil," Aep Suhardi, head of the salt farmers' cooperative unit Koperasi Garam Segarajaya Karawang, remarked here on Friday.

Daily salt production from some 100 hectares of salt ponds in the sub-districts of Tempuran and Cilayama Kulon has reached a ton on an average.

Suhardi noted that with no salt production for a week, farmers had to suffer a financial dent of over Rp500 million.

According to Suhardi, PT Pertamina has collected data of farmers affected by the oil spill. "Yes, it has been checked by Pertamina. They also took water samples from the pond for laboratory testing," he noted.

He is optimistic of the company compensating for the losses incurred, though currently, farmers have been able to recover their salt production activities.

"Now, it (salt production) has returned to normal, and we have begun production. However, the price of salt declined Rp700 per kg, from earlier Rp2,000 to Rp3,000 per kg," Suhardi stated.

State-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina had earlier announced it would compensate the residents of the Karawang coastal area in West Java, especially fishermen, who have been affected by the oil spill.

"Compensation will certainly be given later in accordance with the procedures and the consensus reached," PT Pertamina's Corporate Communication VP, Fajriyah Usman, stated.

The state oil and gas company has set up several command posts to take into account the complaints of people affected by the oil spill in the waters of Kerawang and Bekasi.

Pertamina will also compensate the local fishermen and residents, who have helped clean up the shorelines.

PT Pertamina continues to probe the reason behind the release of gas from the YYA-1 well in West Java that led to the oil spill. Pertamina has mobilized 27 ships and 12 sets of oil boom to contain the oil spill and handle the environmental impact, and in cooperation with the Indonesian Navy and the Maritime Police, it has deployed seven patrol boats to ensure no fishermen conduct fishing activities in the area.

Source: ANTARA News

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