An Indonesian oil company denied responsibility for a major oil slick off the coast of Borneo, which appears to be spreading and claimed the lives of four fishermen with a fifth missing.
The four fishermen died in Balikpapan Bay on the weekend when part of a massive slick ignited. A fifth fisherman is missing.
The toxic slick covers an area of 12 sq km (seven sq miles) and fishermen said it has already killed at least one protected dugong.
Fishermen in the town of Balikpapan, in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan, said they would hold a protest over the lack of responsibility shown by the Indonesian Government and the state-owned oil company Pertamina.
Pertamina said the spill had nothing to do with its nearby refinery or undersea pipeline.
The general manager of the nearby Pertamina Unit V Refinery said the company’s divers had not been able to find any pipeline leaks.
“That’s the reason why we’re still running the refinery facility normally,” said plant manager Togar Manuring said.
People in the coastal area started to smell oil at midnight on March 31, then there was a fire at 10 a.m. There’s an offshore refinery of Pertama nearby.”