GEF IW:LEARN World Oceans Day 2021 Special Issue

The Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region is not only extremely rich in living marine resources, but also oil and gas reserves. According to a recent study by Dr. Won-Tae Shin, CEO of Global Ocean, Inc. in collaboration with the ATSEA-2 programme, the southern coast of Timor Island is especially vulnerable to oil spills occurring in the Timor Sea, specifically around the Rote Ndao District. The results of preliminary modelling also identified waters surrounding Aru Island and the south coast of Timor-Leste as hotspots for seafloor debris such as derelict fishing gear.

His assessment also showed that Rote Ndao District in Indonesia and the south coast of Timor-Leste have been pinpointed as the areas most vulnerable to oil spills and hotspots for discarded fishing equipment. Recent analyses suggest that the Montara spill of 2009 remains fresh in the minds of local residents, with impacts still being felt in the region. Furthermore, as oil and gas exploration expands and shipping lanes in the area become more congested, the risk of similar incidents continues to grow.

The study to identify pollution hotspots at the regional and national levels in ATS had been concluded. Therefore, on 27 May 2021, ATSEA-2 held a webinar entitled Marine and Land-Based Pollution in the Arafura and Timor Seas Region, in orderto update key stakeholders in ATS countries on the results of marine and land-based pollution assessments.

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