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Indonesian seaweed farmers seek $189m over oil spill in Australia

MELBOURNE – Indonesian seaweed farmers were set to seek more than A$200 million (S$189 million) from Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production in a trial starting on Monday (June 17), to cover damage they say they suffered after Australia’s worst oil spill.

The class action represents more than 15,000 seaweed farmers who claim to have lost their livelihoods in the years after oil gushed into the Timor Sea for more than 74 days following an explosion at the Montara oil rig in August 2009.

“We are now 10 years on from this environmental disaster and the oil company responsible and its wealthy Thai parent continue to deny the devastating impact their oil spewing out uncontrollably for months on end had on Indonesian seaweed farmers,” Mr Ben Slade, a lawyer at Maurice Blackburn, which is running the case, said in a statement.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Mr Daniel Sanda, who claims that the seaweed industry in Rote Ndao and Kupang, more than 200km away from the Montara rig were destroyed by PTTEP’s failure to safely operate it.

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