"Do not ki up, when it sinks noodles what ship? " said Iwan, a Kodingareng fisherman, to Jaring.id when contacted by phone, Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
Iwan was one of the eyewitnesses to the arrest of several Kondingareng fishermen by the South Sulawesi Regional Police which took place on Sunday, August 23, 2020. Although he had prevented the authorities from boarding his ship, he could not do much when Polairud members' action caused his ship to sink.
"In order to drown, we will pay," Iwan continued, imitating a statement by a Polairud member.
The conflict between Kodingareng fishermen and the Polairud apparatus of the South Sulawesi Police was the culmination of this repeated protests against sand dredging activities which has been going on for months. The operation of a ship called the Queen of the Netherlands hull in the waters of Spermonde, South Sulawesi is considered to be the culprit for the escape of fish from the catchment area which is the main source of livelihood for the surrounding community.
Director of Polairud Polda Sulses, Kombes Hery Wiyanto explained that the members did not want to drown. According to him, fishing boats are not able to withstand the waves of the sea.
“There is no drowning. At that time, the sea conditions were big waves, "said Hery when contacted by Jaring.id, Wednesday, August 26, 2020
As for the arrest of fishermen, he continued, was carried out to prevent disruption to national strategic projects that have been stipulated in Presidential Regulation Number 57 of 2017 in conjunction with Presidential Regulation number 3 of 2016 concerning Acceleration of Implementation of National Strategic Projects. Moreover, he said, his party had received a report regarding the attempt to destroy a sand mining vessel using Molotov cocktails.
"He (Nazarudin-red) was involved in the previous case on July 23, including the attempt to burn down the ship," said Hery.
Nazarudin what Hery meant was one of two fishermen who were arrested by the Directorate of Water Police (Polair) of the Regional Police (Polda) of South Sulawesi. One other person is Manre who is suspected of violating Article 35 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 7 Year 2011 concerning Currency. Manre is accused of tearing up the money in the envelope given by the company so that fishermen will no longer protest against the construction of the Makassar New Port (MNP).
MNP is a long-term project estimated to cost up to IDR 89.57 trillion. The 9,923 meter long pier with a capacity of 17.5 million TEUs per year is targeted to be completed by 2025. President Joko Widodo will inaugurate the project in May 2015.
Responding to local community protests, PT Pelindo IV and PT Boskalis stated that they would continue to persuade the community. The Secretary of PT Pelindo IV, Dwi Rahmad Toto, admitted that he is open to finding solutions together.
"We hope that in the future we can communicate well, so that we can explain it well to fishermen," he told Jaring.id, Monday, August 31, 2020.
Dwi also admitted that he had communicated with the police so that the fishermen were released.
"We don't know whether anyone has reported it or not. We have communicated with related parties (police-ed). If it can be released, "said Dwi.
To Jaring.id, Dwi explained that the extraction of sea sand was in accordance with the Mining Business Permit (IUP) issued by the South Sulawesi Energy and Mineral Resources Office. Meanwhile, the determination of the location and granting of striking permits is in Regional Regulation No.2 of 2019 concerning the Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands of South Sulawesi Province.
"The mine site is located in Galesong, Takalara, not in the Kodingareng Islands," he explained.
Head of the South Sulawesi Environmental Service, Andi Hasdullah, asked the protesting community to attach evidence, both photos, videos and studies related to environmental destruction caused by extraction of sea sand. He said, regional governments cannot simply revoke permits that have been given.
"If there is no accountable evidence, it cannot revoke (permit-ed) or impose administrative and criminal sanctions," Hasdullah told Jaring.id, Friday, August 28, 2020.
According to him, PT Royal Boskalis can operate because it already has an environmental permit. His team and the environmental impact analysis team have also visited the mining location which is located in Galesong, Takalar, South Sulawesi.
Hasdullah explained that the mine site is located 8 miles or 14 kilometers from the shoreline. This distance is in accordance with Regional Regulation No.1 of 2019 concerning the Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands. Meanwhile, he said, the distance between the mine site and Kodingareng Island is more than 50 kilometers.
"Still we will supervise," said Hasdullah.
The Director of Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (Walhi) South Sulawesi, Muhammad Amin, emphasized that extraction of sea sand has a direct impact on environmental, social and economic damage to residents. According to him, sea water that turns cloudy can disrupt the marine ecosystem. Among them are blocking the photosynthetic process for algae and phytoplankton.
"So it is certain that it will disturb the living creatures (producers) level I and so on," explained Amin.
In addition, sand mining will also cause coral reefs to die. This is because the suspended particles generated from suctioning the sand can cover the pores of coral reefs. Even worse, he said, the chemicals released from the sand mining vessels could poison marine life.
"In the end all the organisms and marine life that exist will be affected," said Amin.
Another thing that is no less important, he continued, is the involvement of the community in the environmental impact analysis assessment process. This is regulated by Law Number 32 of 2009, Government Regulation Number 27 of 2012, and Regulation of the Minister of Environment Number 17 of 2012.
Another rule that according to Amin was also hit by sand dredging operations is Law Number 7 of 2016 concerning the Protection and Empowerment of Fishermen, Fish Farmers and Salt Farmers. The regulation explains that fishermen must be prosperous, protect their business and safety and ensure their sustainability.
"This is a practice of disobedience," said Amin.
Based on these various risks, Walhi Sulsel asked the central and regional governments to cancel the extraction of sea sand for the Makassar New Port project.
"We urge an end to reclamation and sand mining," said Amin.
Researcher of the Institute for Community Studies and Advocacy (ELSAM), Andi Muttaqin, assessed that the arrest and criminalization of residents who try to defend their living space from corporate threats is a pattern that recurs from year to year.
"That is a strategy by the company by using legal officers," he told Jaring.id, Thursday, August 27, 2020.
In Elsam's report on the situation of human rights defenders and the environment from 1 January 2020 to 30 April 2020, there were 22 cases of violence and threats against environmental defenders. These cases are spread across 10 provinces and 14 districts / cities. South Sulawesi is the province with the highest number of cases.
"The most experienced arrests, detention and intimidation," said Andi Mutaqin.
Of the 58 perpetrators, most cases of violence involved state officials. The police were listed as the most actors, namely 39 actors. As for non-state actors, the most violent practices against human rights defenders and the environment were committed by companies with a total of 12 incidents. (Abdus Somad)