Enigma surrounds an oil spill that occurred in Indonesia’s Penyu Bay on 20 May.
Until today, no one can say for certain what caused the oil spill.
Indonesia’s state-owned oil company Pertamina initially thought the oil leak occurred when product tanker Martha Petrol, which had been trading in national waters, suffered a damaged hull as it was being unloaded in single-point mooring (SPM) facilities 16 miles from Cilacap, spilling oil into the water.
However, laboratory tests showed the type of oil in the oil slick was different from the cargo in Martha Petrol.
Pertamina RU IV Cilacap general manager Nyoman Sukadana said that the oil polluting Penyu Bay is marine fuel oil (MFO) 18, while the oil that was spilled into the SPM facilities was Arabian light crude.
The police, Cilacap Environment Agency, and Indonesia’s environment ministry are also conducting tests on samples of oil spills.
Suspicion fell on Martha Petrol as it had hit coral reefs off Penyu Bay on 3 May as it waited to berth.
The 1989-built 41,570 dwt tanker is owned by Waruna Nusa Sentana, shows IHS Maritime’s Sea-web.com data.
Sukadana said, “The vessel carried 24,000-kilolitres of MFO 180 and 5,000- kilolitres MFO 380.”
The position of Martha Petrol at the time it suffered a damaged hull also does not match any possible movement that winds might have caused.
Pertamina RU IV’s SPM facilities are southeast of Nusa Kambangan Island.
Pertamina RU IV ‘s health, safety and environment (HSE) manager Leodan Hadin, said that data from meteorology, climatology, and geophysics agency (BMKG) showed that from 19 to 26 May, wind often blew from the east and southeast.
“Therefore, the spread of SPM oil spill was supposed to move to southwards to Nusa Kambangan, not to Penyu Bay,” he said.