Batam jails Indonesian captain of Singapore-owned vessel for bringing in toxic waste

The Belize-flagged SB Cramoil Equity owned by toxic waste collection company Cramoil Singapore. PHOTO: CRAMOIL.COM.SG

JAKARTA - Batam's district court has sentenced an Indonesian captain of a Singapore-owned vessel to seven years in jail for transporting containers of hazardous and toxic liquid waste into Indonesia, breaching both environment and shipping laws.

The Belize-flagged vessel, SB Cramoil Equity, is owned by toxic waste collection company Cramoil Singapore Ltd, said the Indonesian government.

On June 13, 2021, Batam Port Authority's patrol team was tipped off on the vessel entering waters off Batam. Two days later, the team found 20 intermediate bulk containers of hazardous and toxic liquid waste on board the vessel in Batu Ampar waters. Each container can hold about 1,000 litres of content.

The verdict was passed on June 15 this year but was only disclosed by the Indonesian government on Friday evening (July 22).

The vessel's captain Chosmus Palandi, a 48-year-old resident of Lampung province, was slapped with a seven-year jail term and a five-billion rupiah (S$463,000) fine.

If he does not pay the fine, he has to serve an additional three months in jail for breaching the environment law, as well as eight months in jail and a 50 million rupiah fine for breaching the shipping law.

The environment ministry said in a statement on Friday that it is committed to following up on the case, which it called a cross-border corporate crime.

The ministry is trying to trace the origin of the waste and is seeking to prosecute any other party or corporation involved.

"We have coordinated with the Indonesian embassy in Singapore and will look further into this case," Mr Rasio Ridho Sani, law enforcement director general at the ministry, said in the statement.

"Firm action against waste smuggling and any act against the environment must be carried out to protect Indonesian waters and environment."

In April 2018, Cramoil Singapore was issued a stop-work order by Singapore's national water agency PUB after it was caught discharging toxic wastewater into public sewers.

The order was served to the company's managing director, Mr Tan Kim Seng, on April 23, 2018, and came into force immediately. This means the company can no longer discharge any used water from its premises into public sewers.

The company was caught in the act following overnight operations by PUB.

The agency found that the industrial used water discharged was brown and had 16 different types of prohibited volatile organic compounds.

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