Wednesday, 23rd August 2017

Parts of Indonesian waters to be included in sensitive areas

20th March 2017 | 2.070 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will seek to put part of Indonesian waters in the list of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA).

The move came after the incident early this month of tourist boat MV Caledonian Sky damaging rare type of ridges of rocks in West Papuas Raja Ampat.

PSSA are areas that are protected by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for ecology, social economy or science vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities.

"There is guideline in IMO for PSSA or sensitive sea areas. We can registered the seas with IMO. Hopefully we could have all our seas registered at IMO to better guarantee safety in shipping," a deputy at the office of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno told reporters here on Monday.

Havas said the government already has three or four sea areas potential for registration - all in eastern Indonesia.

He said this week he would hold a meeting to determine areas potential to be included in the PSSA registration.

"Why did we do it now not earlier. The reason is the process if expensive. We have to carry out research all over the waters areas," he said.

He said with the PSSA attribute, the government could arrange sea zones to prevent the recurrence of the Raja Ampat incident.

In addition, the government will evaluate the policy and regulations that it could continue to facilitate visits of tourist boats without damaging the environment, he added.

The policy concerns a number of factors including the number of ships that could enter the sensitive areas in a year and location of transit and the size of ships .

Havas said the government has limited experience in regulating the number and size of tourist boats entering the countrys waters.

"It is natural as previously it was very rare tourist boats visiting the country for inadequate bureaucracy and poor infrastructure.

"Now , there are challenges in our attempt to attract cruise ships. However, there are cruise ships visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Therefore, we need to make internal evaluation," he said.

The Caledonian Sky incident on March 4 under skipper Keith Michael Taylor had caused extensive disaster to rare type of ridge of rocks in Raja Ampat one of the worlds favorites for divers.

Unfortunately the ridges of rocks destroyed in the incident are located right in the center of Raja Ampat, housing great varieties of sea creatures.

Apart from loss compensation, the government wants the boat captain to be responsible for the damage, especially as he was known to have committed offense in other part of the country precisely in Kuala Tanjung, North Sumatra where he wrongly berthed his ship.

The government is considering to charge him with criminal law. (*)