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The Montara Oil Spill: A 2009 Well Blowout in the Timor Sea
- Spies, R. B., Mukhtasor, M., Burns, K. A.
- Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 2017 v.73 no.1 pp. 55-62
- algae, continental shelf, farms, fish, fishermen, oil spills, oils, surveys, wells, Timor, Timor Sea
- A well on the Montara platform on the Australian continental shelf blew out in August 2009 and spilled oil into the Timor Sea for 74 days. The oil, estimated at as much as 23.5 million L in total volume, spread over a large area of the shelf and eventually into Indonesian waters. This paper documents, through published literature, reports of both Australian and Indonesian governments and observations of coastal residents and fishermen the spread of the oil and attempts to estimate its impact. The lack of observers on the ocean and baseline, pre-spill data on populations of marine organisms, and delays in deploying scientific surveys after the spill severely limited efforts by the Australian government to determine damage in its territorial waters. Biological survey work was not done in Indonesian waters, but coastal residents attested to relatively severe impacts to algal farms. In addition fish landings declined in one port in southwest Timor Island.