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'We no longer catch fish’ — Indonesian fishermen gripe about sea pollution by N. Adri and Gemma Holliani Cahya June 10,2018   |  Source: The Jakarta Post

Fishermen in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, are complaining about sea pollution they claim has been caused by the loading and unloading of coal at sea, saying they “no longer catch fish or shrimp, but only coal.”

In their biggest protest so far, some 400 fishers blockaded the shipping lane used by coal-carrying barges, locally known as tongkang. “We want the activity of loading coal in the middle of the sea to stop, because it not only pollutes the sea, but is also killing our jobs,” Sakirang, 50, the coordinator of the protest, said on Saturday.

Sakirang and his fellow fishermen blockaded the lane with around 80 ships. They put banners on some of the pontoons, expressing their objection to the coal loading activity.

Personnel from the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) as well as officials from the East Kalimantan Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency were seen escorting the protest.

The fishermen warned officials that they would stage a bigger protest if their demands remained unheeded. “We no longer catch fish or shrimp, we are catching coal,” Sakirang lamented.

The practice of loading and unloading coal at sea started in 2017 and has become more common since, especially after the oil spill caused by a broken pipeline

 

© 2017 PT. Niskala Media Tenggara

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