The President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta has said that the Government of Timor-Leste should seek compensation for the current Oil Spill in the Timor Sea if it damages the environment.
For almost three months the oil spill at the Montara oil rig has gone seemingly unnoticed by the leaders of Timor-Leste at any official level.
Upon arriving today from South Korea at 1410 Dili time President Ramos-Horta has said that "about the problem in the Timor Sea, I think that it has been going on now for more than two months, occuring in the Australian zone of the Timor Sea for which the Australian Government have full responsibility for the problem together with the Thai oil company involved"
"They were unable to plug it and recently about the day before yesterday or yesterday a major fire occured on the rig"
“This is a major disaster. Even though it is in Australian territory but it doesn't mean Timor-Leste is not affected.”
“It can affected. It is affecting our fish and many other things.”
“Because of this according to my opinion I think the government of Timor-Leste should speak to the environment groups in Timor-Leste and in Australia to find out those who have responsible and if there is any compensation to pay to Timor-Leste if there is negative impact upon the environment in Timor-Leste."
“I see that it happening in an area far from our Exclusive Economic Zone, but that it can effect us very nagatively due to the nature of trans-border environmental disaster".
"For the fish there is no boundary and they can move in and out our waters so if the number of fish is decrease in our sea means cause of some environmental issue in some where else."
“Because of this I think we have to talk to some expert groups in Australia such as environmental rights groups to give us some support, as the Government of Timor-Leste does have the technical capacity to address this issue.
Horta suggested to the expert to look at the international environmental law, along with international law to determine whether this problem has effected us or not before we launch a protest.
“Until now we have not data and we just watch it on TV and so we are estimating from a distance."
In the mean time Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao praised the Australian Government's efforts to solve the oil spill.
“I saw on TV in the last two nights the the Minister for Environment from Australia said they are making efforts to solve the problem.”
He continues that, “But the rig has exploded in fire and let us wait and see because we don't have means.”
Xanana also agreed with Horta if there any negative impact to the Timor sea. “As President said if this problem have an impact here then we have to see how we can present our views in regard to the issue. But technically it's very difficult to us.”
Xanana also reacted to the issue of Effluent in Tasi Tolu Dili and promised that these human and other waste will not transact into the sea. “About the Pelican issue will not through into the sea but from our side we have plan to remove these waste to put in other places then it was built in 2000 or 2001 which when we the area we also got odour effects from the waste.”
Xanana promised that, “I can promised to you that no body will move these waste into the sea.”
According to the experts said that there are more than forty (40) species of fish and rare corals in the sea near the sight, and Timor-Leste is a signatory to the international Coral Triangle Accord to protect marine life in the region.