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  Antara 27 Feb 07
Indonesia to lose rp2.39 trillion annually if sand exports to S'pore continue

Straits Times 18 Feb 07
Indonesia acts to curb smuggling of sand to Singapore
By Salim Osman, Indonesian Correspondent

Jakarta Post 17 Feb 07
Officials struggle with Batam sand smuggling
Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Batam

Business Times 8 Feb 07
Indon navy seizes sand barges for breaching deadline: report

The Jakarta Post 3 Feb 07
Govt to boost security to enforce sand export ban
Fadli, The Jakarta Post

Batam The government will beef up sea security between Indonesia and Singapore to enforce a ministerial decree banning the export of sand. Chief executive of the Maritime Security Coordinating Board, Vice Admiral Djoko Sumaryono, told The Jakarta Post

The Indonesian Navy, the customs office and police will join forces for the security measure. The Trade Ministerial ban was issued on Jan. 22 and will come into effect on Feb. 6.

"The Navy, customs and police will tighten security in sea border areas between Indonesia and Singapore once the decree is in effect, preventing sand being smuggled out of the country," said Djoko, who was formerly a secretary to the coordinating minister for politics and security.

He was in Batam, Riau province to meet provincial administration officials, community figures and sand exporters to familiarize them with the ban. He said the government would take strong action against those smuggling Indonesian sand overseas, and ordered security personnel to be on high alert.

"The serious environmental damage caused by sand mining is the main reason why Indonesia is stopping sand exports," said Djoko.

Djoko said the ban was a response to Singapore's indecisiveness in signing a border pact with Indonesia and the failure to reach a resolution in bilateral talks on the extradition of legal suspects.

The Trade Ministry's director general of international trade, Diah Maulidah, told sand exporters that the ban would be evaluated within six months or one year.

"The policy is not irrevocable because it could be reviewed if needed. The ban on sand exports is also in line with various aspects of streamlining in the sector, such as in pricing and export volume," Diah told coastal sand exporters at the Nongsa Point Marina in Batam.

The ministry, she said, is also confused by the Riau administration's stand on the coastal sand export policy.

Riau Islands Governor Ismeth Abdullah wrote a letter to Vice President Jusuf Kalla in November last year recommending he halt the export of coastal sand. However, following the ban, the governor sent a letter to the trade minister saying the province was against the policy, arguing it could lessen the province's regional initiated income.

"We at the Trade Ministry are confused with the administration's stance, thanks to these two contradictory letters. We hope every party understands the decision because the ban has been decided by several ministries," Diah said.

The ban on coastal sand exports is aimed at supporting the ban on marine sand exports, which was issued in 2002.

Sand exports have carried despite the 2002 ban, since exporters have simply changed cargo documents to show they were carrying coastal, rather than marine sand.

This practice has been very hard to detect by authorities trying to prevent marine sand mining.

According to Diah, Singapore will not be surprised with the policy, since the trade minister has already informed her Singaporean counterpart. Meanwhile, chairman of Riau Sand Exporter Business Association, Ficky Zulfikar Zaljuli, said 24 sand exporters in Bintan, Karimun and Lingga regencies plan to file a class-action lawsuit against the government.

Sand exports to Singapore from the three regencies currently reach 300,000 cubic meters per month.

"We'll take this matter to the court. We're surprised by the government's policy, which did not involve businesspeople in its making," Ficky said.

He said that although the ban would be in effect across the country, sand mining exporters in Riau would be the worst hit.

Riau's deputy governor, Muhammad Sani, said the administration supported the ban. "The ban will improve our bargaining power with Singapore. It's not true that Singapore wants to import sand from Vietnam, the Philippines or China. (To do that) would increase their production costs, since those countries have a limited sand export volume," he said.

Business Times 8 Feb 07
Indon navy seizes sand barges for breaching deadline: report

(JAKARTA) The Indonesian navy has started to crack down on sand smuggling, seizing sand-carrying vessels heading to Singapore, after the deadline for halting the coastal sand trade passed early on Tuesday, according to a report in The Jakarta Post.

Eight warships were sent to monitor the border waters between Singapore and Riau Islands province, which is the main source of sand for Singapore, the report said.

It also said that so far four warships have boarded and impounded a total of four barges, the majority of which were flying Singapore flags.

'On some of the captured vessels, they argued that their export notification letters were signed on Monday,' Indonesia's Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Muryono told the newspaper.

'But for us in the navy, those vessels were still in Indonesia's territory on Tuesday, meaning they broke the regulations. We cannot give them any leeway.'

The report quoted him as saying that export notification could have been signed as late as 11pm on Monday, as long as vessels left Indonesian waters before midnight.

'Since the vessels were still in Indonesian waters after midnight, we had to stop them,' he said. 'We will continue patrolling the area to prevent sand smugglers.'

According to another report in The Jakarta Post, the Indonesian government has set aside funding for coastal regencies to help thousands of sand miners train for new work, following the banning of sand exports.

The director-general of marine coasts and small islands at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, Syamsul Maarif, disclosed the plan to the newspaper on Tuesday.

Straits Times 18 Feb 07
Indonesia acts to curb smuggling of sand to Singapore
By Salim Osman, Indonesian Correspondent

JAKARTA - THE Indonesian police will deploy officers at sand quarries in the Riau archipelago this week to curb the continued smuggling of sand to Singapore despite the ban imposed last month.

Riau Islands police chief Sutarman was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Post yesterday that his men would monitor the movement of sand from the quarries and check on sand exporters to stop them from shipping sand to other provinces before re-routing the shipments to Singapore.

'We will inspect every shipment of granite which might just be a camouflage to carry sand,' he was quoted as saying.

Indonesia imposed a ban on land sand exports to Singapore on Jan 23, which took effect on Feb 5. It claimed that sand mining affected its maritime boundaries.

The Jakarta Post also quoted a senior official who complained about the amount Singapore had paid for Indonesian sand.

The head of the Maritime Security Coordinating Agency, Vice-Admiral Djoko Sumaryono, told the newspaper that Singapore had paid Indonesia $5 per cu m but had offered to pay much more following the ban.

'This is just an example of how Singapore treats us,' he said.

The Vice-Admiral also referred to what he said was a rising trend of selling islands in Riau province, including Segayang Island in Galang, Batam, to a Singaporean businessman. He said the 20 ha island with small resort facilities was sold to the businessman in 2000.

The newspaper said the island, located about 50km from Batam, was sold for 55 million rupiah (S$9,300). Vice-Admiral Djoko said negotiations were continuing for the sale of another island for 100 million rupiah.

In another newspaper, the inspector-general of the Indonesian navy, Major-General Nono Sampono, said that Singapore's territory had expanded by 12km because of reclamation works, and that the further sale of sand could impact on Indonesian territory.

'If such reclamation works continue to be carried out, Indonesian territorial waters will shrink every year,' he was quoted as saying in the Kompas daily.

He added that Indonesia would lose more of its territory when its islands in the border areas disappear after sand is taken for Singapore reclamation projects.

Jakarta Post 17 Feb 07
Officials struggle with Batam sand smuggling
Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Batam

Sand continues to be smuggled from Indonesia to Singapore despite a recent crackdown, Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Sutarman said in Batam on Friday. Sutarman discussed the issue with the acting head of the Sea Security Coordinating Agency, Vice Adm.

Djoko Sumaryono, during a ceremony in Batam. "As I was returning home from Johor, Malaysia, by ferry on Thursday, I saw for myself at least 10 barges flying Indonesian flags filled with sand and granite heading toward a reclamation project in Singapore. Sand smuggling is apparently still going on. We urge the central government, through the agency, to deal with the problem because the police do not have the necessary resources," said Sutarman.

Riau Islands Police will begin posting officers at every sand quarry in the province next week in an effort to curb the smuggling. "They will monitor where the sand is being sent, whether it's for Indonesia's purpose or is being smuggled out of the country," said Sutarman. Police will also monitor sand exporters, to stop them from shipping sand to other provinces before rerouting the shipments to Singapore.

"We will also inspect every shipment of granite which might just be a camouflage to carry sand," said Sutarman.

Djoko said his office would follow up on the report of the illegal sand shipments to Singapore.

The Trade Ministry issued a ban on exports of coastal sand, earth and top soil on Jan. 22. The ban came into effect on Feb. 6.

"We urge related agencies in the provinces authorized to secure the sea to be firm and cooperate in curbing this problem, because we cannot do the work alone," said Djoko.

Djoko accused Singapore of not treating Indonesia fairly when it came to the issue of sand exports. He said that prior to the ban, Singapore was only paying S$5 per cubic meter of sand. After the Indonesian government issued the ban, Singapore raised the price to S$16 per cubic meter.

"Singapore is now offering to pay S$31 for each cubic meter, while it buys sand from China for S$48 per cubic meter. This is just an example of how Singapore treats us. Our job is to raise awareness to prevent Indonesia's natural wealth, including sand, from being smuggled out of the country," said Djoko.

Djoko said his agency was officially launched on Dec. 29, 2006, by Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs Widodo AS, who also acts as agency head. It was set up based on a 2005 presidential decree on sea security.

The agency coordinates with 12 state institutions involved in securing the sea, including the Navy, water, air and port police, and customs office. It will set up five territorial offices in the provinces to facilitate operations, including one in Batam, Riau Islands.

The head of the agency's Sea Security Policy Preparation Center, police Brig. Gen. E.H. Allagan, said the agency would lease four satellites at a price of US$96,000 per year to monitor activity in the country's waters.

These satellites will be able to monitor activity at various ports, as well as sea traffic in the country. The agency will also be able to use the satellites to check on cargo carried by ships passing through Indonesian waters.

"The operational costs will be covered by the state budget, and it is being discussed by the government now. The satellites are urgent, keeping in mind that a great deal of our country's natural wealth has been stolen and smuggled overseas. And don't try to collaborate with smugglers, because we know what you are doing," said Allagan.

Antara 27 Feb 07
Indonesia to lose rp2.39 trillion annually if sand exports to S'pore continue

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Maritime Resources and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said Indonesia would suffer an annual loss of Rp2.39 trillion if it resumed its sand exports to Singapore.

"The value of our sand exports to Singapore since 2004 has totalled 1.256 trillion. If we continue to export sand to the neighboring country until 2015, we will suffer an annual loss of about Rp2.9 trillion," the minister told a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I which deals with foreign affairs here on Monday.

He said Singapore had since 2004 been carrying out a coastal reclamation project which was expected to be completed in 2015.

For the reclamation, Singapore had imported some 321-337 million cubic meters of sand from Indonesia annually.

The hearing with the House Commission I, which discussed security matters in border areas, was also attended by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS, Attorney General Abdurahman Saleh, Police Chief Gen. Sutanto, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono and House Affairs Minister M. Ma`ruf.

Freddy said that a number of contractors involved in Singapore`s coastal reclamation project had offered to cooperate with Indonesia in the development of several areas such as Jurong Island, Tuas View Extension, Pulau Tekong island and Pulau Ubin island.

"But, as a result of the coastal reclamation with sand imported from Indonesia, we risk losing an island, Nipah island, and we want to protect the island now," the minister said. Therefore, he said, the Indonesian government had banned sand exports to Singapore.

"So, if there are still parties who are exporting sand their acts are illegal and they can be arrested," the minister added. He said that the same case also applied to the exports of on shore sand.

The exports of on shore sand had also been banned since January 2007. "Sand mining off and on shores in the Islands of Riau has been banned," Freddy added.(*)

Sandy Situation a huge pile of articles about sand, reclamation and Singapore on the leafmonkey blog; also on the environmental news blog

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues and wild shores
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