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In the maritime realm, vessel wreck removal play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of vessels, crews, and the environment. Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with a rich maritime history, places great emphasis on upholding these obligations to safeguard its waters and maritime activities. This article delves into the intricate landscape of wreck removal obligations in Indonesia, shedding light on its legal framework, key responsibilities, and the clasifcation of the wreck should be removed.
A. Legal Framework
The foundation of wreck removal obligations in Indonesia governed by the Indonesian Maritime Law (Undang-Undang Nomor 17 Tahun 2008 tentang Pelayaran) and its related regulations. Salvage operations involve the recovery, rescue, or preservation of vessels, cargoes, or other property from maritime incidents like shipwrecks, groundings, collisions, and other emergencies.
Particularly, In May 2018, the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation issued Regulation No. 38 of 2018 (“MR 38/2018”), focusing on the subject of Salvage and/or Underwater Works. This regulation served as an amendment to the earlier regulations outlined in Ministry Regulation No. 71 of 2013 (“MR 71/2013”) and Ministry Regulation No. 33 of 2016 (“MR 33/2016”). The primary intent of MR 38/2018 was likely to provide updated and more comprehensive guidelines, rules, and procedures for managing salvage operations and underwater works within the context of the maritime sector in Indonesia. The regulation likely covers aspects such as salvage operations, shipwreck recovery, environmental protection during salvage activities, and related matters. For precise details and implications, it’s advisable to refer to official Indonesian government sources or consult legal experts who are well-versed in Indonesian maritime regulations.
The Indonesia had also ratified The Nairobi International Convention On The Removal Of Wrecks, 2007, through Presidential Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia No. 80 of 2020 regarding the Ratification of the Nairobi International Convention On The Removal Of Wrecks, 2007 (International Nairobi Convention On Shipwreck Removal, 2007), which was signed by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, on July 20, 2020, in Jakarta.
B. Owner’s or Operator Key Responsibility
The Indonesia Maritime Law No.17 Year 2008 mainly addressed for the water transport activities in Indonesia jurisdiction, including the international flagged vessel navigating in Indonesian waters.
Where the manager or the operator of the vessel shall comply with the following regulation under the section 8 (eight) of the Indonesia Maritime Law No.17 Year 2008 article no. 202 to 205 and we have accordingly summarized the article as follows:
- The Owner, Operator, or Master is required to promptly notify the relevant authorities (Harbormaster/Seacom) within Indonesia’s jurisdiction about the occurrence of a wreck involving their own vessel.
- In situations where the wreck, as previously mentioned, poses a threat to navigation safety, the authorized parties are responsible for installing and announcing the presence of a navigation aid to mitigate these risks.
- Ship owners or Operator is required to remove shipwrecks and/or their cargoes that disrupt navigation safety and security within a maximum period of 180 (one hundred and eighty) calendar days from the day the ship sinks.
- Should the ship owners or operators fail to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations to remove the wreck within the stipulated timeframe, the government is obligated to take action. This may involve lifting, removing, or even destroying the entirety or a portion of the shipwrecks and/or their cargo. The expenses incurred for these actions will be borne by the ship owner.
- If an incident occurs as a result of the negligence of the owners in removing the wreck, the owners are required to provide compensation to those who have been adversely affected by the accidents.
- The owner or operator must ensure that their vessels are adequately insured in alignment with the obligations concerning wreck removal.
C. Classification of Wreck Should Be Removed
The decision to remove the wreck is under the SEACOM decision, where the SEACOM considering the location of the shipwreck and/or its cargo, the type and size of the shipwreck, sensitive areas around the shipwreck, maritime traffic density, and the type and quantity of cargo/fuel which stipulated on Ministry Regulation No. 71 of 2013 (“MR 71/2013”) and Ministry Regulation No. 33 of 2016 (“MR 33/2016”), we have accordingly summarize the classification of the wreck should be removed as below.
- Level I disruption applies when the shipwreck and/or its cargo are situated within the Environmental Working Area and the Area of Interest of the port. This implies that wrecks located within the port, including supporting facilities like channels and anchorages, must be promptly removed.
- Level II disruption applies when the shipwreck and/or its cargo are positioned outside the Environmental Working Area and the Area of Interest of the port. This implies that wrecks located within supporting facilities such as channels and anchorages but outside the port area should be removed.
- Level III disruption applies when the shipwreck and/or its cargo are situated in deep-sea waters with a depth of one hundred meters (100 m) or more. This implies that the owner is obligated to remove any debris from areas in Indonesian jurisdiction with depths below 100 meters.
Ministry Regulation No. 71 of 2013 (“MR 71/2013”) and Ministry Regulation No. 33 of 2016 (“MR 33/2016”) provide more comprehensive insights into wreck removal, including the procedures involved. We plan to present a separate article dedicated to discussing these regulations in greater detail.
If you are interested in exploring the topic of wreck removal obligations further, please feel free to reach out to us for further information.