SkyTruth’s efforts to hold ocean polluters accountable just received a big boost in Southeast Asia. SkyTruth and the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI), an environmental policy think tank based in Jakarta, have established a formal collaboration to detect chronic oil pollution from vessels in Indonesian waters. Drawing on data from our cutting-edge Cerulean product, this collaboration will advance policy, enforcement, and public awareness around ocean issues and threats within the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as broader regions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
IOJI, established in January 2020, takes a three-pronged approach to tackling ocean justice: Advocating at the national, regional, and international levels; strengthening cooperation networks within government and civil society; and encouraging and cooperating with law enforcement agencies. These three evidence-based facets of IOJI’s approach support the development of sustainable and equitable marine practices—including the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals—and combat maritime crimes and organised crime, such as illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, human trafficking, and modern slavery in marine and fishery.
SkyTruth’s new Cerulean technology is perfectly positioned to aid IOJI’s efforts to catch polluters at sea and inform the law enforcement agencies. Cerulean utilizes automatic identification system (AIS) data from our partner Global Fishing Watch to track vessels all over the world and connect them with specific pollution events. Coupled with satellite imagery to detect vessels and oil slicks, Cerulean serves as a powerful—and freely available—tool for protecting our planet and its people. We’re excited for IOJI to turn this information into action by the government and industry to eliminate oil pollution in Indonesian waters.
Image 1: Java Sea map showing slicks detected by Cerulean in green and coral reefs resistant to ocean warming in pink (coral data courtesy Vibrant Oceans). Image 2: Slicks detected by Cerulean in green and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in pink (MPAs courtesy Protected Planet).
SkyTruth has a long history of detecting and tracking pollution in Indonesian waters. In March 2019, analyst Bjorn Bergman discovered an incident off the coast of Sumatra, where a cement carrier named PERKASA had apparently jettisoned oily wastewater. Later that year, our technology uncovered a slick 33 kilometers long in the Makassar Strait, apparently stemming from the Indonesia-flagged bulk cargo carrier LUMOSO AMAN. Just recently, SkyTruth’s Tatiana Sommerall discovered a 94-kilometer slick in the Java Sea, a reminder that the threat of oil pollution to Indonesian waters is pervasive and ongoing.
Oily slick (94km in length) trailing a vessel in Java Sea, detected by Cerulean on October 6. Based on AIS tracking data, we have high confidence that the vessel responsible for this slick is an Indonesia-flagged oil products tanker, MAHAKAMA 1.