Tue, 09 Nov 1999

Govt acts to prevent CPO contamination

JAKARTA (JP): Cleaning is under way at the North Sumatra port of Belawan for Deli Tama Indonesia storage tanks, which have been blamed for the diesel-oil contamination of 19,000 metric tons of crude palm oil exported to Rotterdam Port last month.

Chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association Derom Bangun said on Monday the Deli Tama tanks would be used only after PT Sucofindo surveyor company certified them clean of impurities and diesel oil.

"In addition, a set of precautionary measures is being installed to prevent recurrence of contamination which has tarnished the image of Indonesian exporters in the Netherlands," Bangun said.

Three cargoes of 19,000 tons of CPO from North Sumatra were held up at Rotterdam Port last month after a inspection upon arrival found the commodity to be tainted with diesel oil. The incident prompted the Netherlands to suspend some import contracts.

He said Sucofindo was installing a gas chromatography at its testing laboratory in Medan, North Sumatra, which is capable of detecting diesel oil content of CPO.

Bangun added that sample testings would be performed at all important points within the transportation of CPO from mills to storage tanks in Belawan until the commodity was pumped into vessels.

"Sample testing will be conducted before CPO is loaded onto vehicle tanks from refineries, before it is put into storage tanks at Belawan Port and before it is pumped into freighters," Bangun said.

Deli Tama Indonesia's director Megananda was fired last week and replaced by Panusunan Lubis.

Traders in Medan said Megananda should be held responsible for the contamination but Djoharuddin, the president of the state- owned PTPN III plantation company which owns Deli Tama Indonesia, should also be dealt with firmly.