In mid-July, one of three oil wells owned by the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company, PT Pertamina, under an offshore platform in the North West Java (ONWJ) Offshore Block began leaking into the sea north of Karawang City, West Java.
By mid-August, the company had deployed 44 vessels to work at containing the spill as oil slicked to the surface along with bubbles of gas.
Nevertheless, at least seven beaches in West Java and several villages were affected by the spill lapping ashore. Crude oil reached as far as the seven islands at Pulau Seribu in Jakarta, about 60 km west of the facility. Beaches popular with tourists closed and the hauls of fishermen declined in the polluted area.
Every day for weeks after the spill, hundreds of people were mobilized to clean up the beaches. Wearing protective clothing, including masks and gloves, their work started early to beat the heat of the rising sun.
PT Pertamina promised to handle the leak off the Karawang coast, hiring a U.S.-based well control company – Boots & Coots – to assist. Boots & Coots handled the infamous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. PT Pertamina aims to fix the well by late September.