04/03/2018, 09.35
INDONESIA
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Oil spill kills four leads to state of emergency in Balikpapan

The black tide extends from the waters around the port of Semayang to Margasari, the Makassar Strait and the beaches in the southeastern part of Makassar. The police have not yet issued an official statement on the incident. Over 1000 people suffering from nausea and respiratory problems.

Balikpapan (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The authorities of the port city of Balikpapan, on the east coast of Indonesian Borneo, have declared a state of emergency, after a fire sparked by a serious oil spill in the last few days has caused the death of four people.

"It might seem exaggerated, but the state of the bay is similar to that of a gas station," said MN Fadli, secretary of the East Kalimantan city, yesterday. The oil spill, which three days ago had pushed more than 400 meters into the bay, has now extended over a radius of more than two kilometers from the waters around the port of Semayang to Margasari, the Makassar Strait and the beaches in the southeastern part of Makassar.

The Port Authority of Semayang is coordinating with the private oil company PT Chevron Indonesia and with the state oil company Pertamina to clean up the spill. The senior executive of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Rasio Ridho Sani, reports that an emergency team has deployed floating barriers at sea to contain oil spills and used chemicals to facilitate their absorption.

Rasio also declares that the authorities have taken samples to determine the impact and source of the spill. The city administration has also distributed masks to protect local residents from fuel fumes. About 1,200 people living in the Penajam sub-district, Penajam Paser Utara regency, reported suffering from nausea and respiratory problems after the accident.

The police have not yet issued an official declaration on the spill. However, the state energy giant Pertamina and the Balikpapan Disaster Mitigation Agency say that the fire after the spill was not caused by rescue activities, as reported in recent days by local media.

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