Sat, 05 Jul 2003

Walhi criticizes minister

MEDAN, North Sumatra: The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said it regretted a recent statement by Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Rokhmin Dahuri that 463 locations containing sunken treasure had been detected in Indonesian waters.

The environmental group said the minister's statement could cause a rush of exploration that would damage the maritime environment.

Effendi Panjaitan, a member of Walhi's advisory council, said here on Thursday the minister's statement provided encouragement for parties to devastate the marine environment.

He said a new regulation was needed to control treasure hunters in order to protect the environment.

The minister said recently his office had identified 463 locations in Indonesian waters believed to be home to sunken treasure, particularly in the Malacca Strait and Java Sea. --JP