Workers with sacks of sand affected by an oil spill queueing to load them onto a truck at a beach in Karawang, West Java province, Indonesia, yesterday. The spill started on July 12, when state energy firm Pertamina was drilling at its YYA-1 well in the Offshore North West Java block, about 2km from the coastline in the Karawang district. The Indonesian Forum for the Environment said leaking crude oil has affected 13 villages and the waters north of the capital Jakarta, threatening the livelihoods and health of at least 7,800 people. Pertamina is drilling a 2,700m relief well to stop the spill, said Mr Taufik Adityawarman, the incident commander for the project. He said the well had been drilled to 609m by Thursday and was expected to be plugged by early October. Meanwhile, the clean-up efforts will take until March next year at least, Pertamina said. Nearly 4,000 barrels of oil have been recovered from the sea since the spill, and 4,900 tonnes of polluted sand and rocks have been cleared from beaches, Mr Taufik said.