Sat, 05 Apr 2003

C. Java seas may contain treasures

SEMARANG, Central Java: The waters of Central Java may contain treasures scattered in an estimated 74 locations from ships that have sunk centuries ago, a government official said Friday.

Most of the treasures were likely ancient Chinese ceramic and gold barrels, said Hari Purnomo, the maritime office head at the Central Java branch of the maritime and fisheries ministry.

He said 51 locations were identified off the Cilacap regency in the South Sea. Another 14 spots were near the Karimunjawa islands, north of the province in the Java Sea. The remaining nine, he said, were found elsewhere in the Java Sea.

It is unclear what his estimates were based on, but did say surveys were ongoing in the oceans flanking the province.

Ancient Chinese and European traders traversed the waters of numerous regions across the country, leaving behind their precious loads when their ships sank.

Hari said he had not heard of any activities to salvage the underwater treasures.

Ceramic pieces, gold and other artifacts hidden in the shipwrecks in Indonesian waters have often been looted by fortune hunters over the last few years.

The law requires that finders of archaeological treasures and other cultural property must report to the authorities. It also stipulates that 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the finds must go to the Indonesian government. -- Antara

;JP;bkm; ANPAa..r.. Across-police-royal-dispute Police offer help in royal dispute JP/ /Across

Police offer help in royal dispute

CIREBON, West Java: Police here offered their help to prove the validity of the late Cirebon sultan's will, which was at the center of a royal dispute that resulted in last month's double crowning of two heirs claiming the same crown.

"If we were asked to verify the will of the Kanoman Palace, we would certainly honor the request," said Adj. Sr. Comr Siswandi on Friday.

The eleventh sultan of the kingdom, Prince Haji Muhammad Djalaluddin, died last year. His family has since been in dispute over who should follow him.

In his will, he appointed Saladin as his successor. The son of one of Djalaluddin's concubines, Saladin faces opposition from Muhammad Emirudin, the queen's first son.

Kanoman tradition recognizes only Emirudin as the twelfth sultan, but this has become difficult due to Djalaluddin's will.

Saladin and Emirudin were both crowned last month in separate ceremonies deemed illegitimate by the palace's council of patrons. As of yet, neither is willing to relinquish his crown.

"We can check whether the testament is authentic or not, but we can't say whether it's valid," said Siswandi. -- Antara

;JP;bkm; ANPAa..r.. Across-Sumbawa-fish-income 500,000 fish to help Sumbawa income JP/ /Across

500,000 fish to help Sumbawa income

MATARAM, West Nusa Tenggara: President Megawati Soekarnoputri was scheduled to release 500,000 fry, or juvenile fishes, of different species at Batu Bulan Dam in Moyo Hulu, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, on April 14, 2003.

The head of marine resources and fishery office, Busrah Hasan, said the release of the fry was part of the Rp 100 billion dam installment.

"Releasing the juvenile fishes is aimed at empowering local fishermen. This is also an added benefit for farmers living around the large dam," he said.

Busrah said that his office would help local farmers and fishermen to develop the fishery business to help improve their daily income. -- JP