The Queen of the Netherlands, a trailing suction hopper dredger from the Dutch dredging company Boskalis, has suffered an organised attack in Indonesia. Hundreds of environmentalists and fishermen bombarded the vessel with Molotov cocktails and stones.
The trailing suction hopper dredger was taken under fire when the vessel exited the port of Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, according to the Maritime Bulletin website, after which several fires broke out on board. The water police escorted the Boskalis vessel back to the port and arrested twelve activists. The attack took place this weekend, 12-13 September.
Last year, Boskalis won a multi-million-euro contract for dredging work for the expansion of the Makassar New Port container terminal and was previously awarded a contract worth 80 million euros to construct five artificial islands off the coast of Makassar.
Fishermen in the area are angry with Boskalis because they feel fishing is made impossible by the dredging work for the container terminal. During protests against Boskalis on the Indonesian island, signs are displayed with texts such as ‘Boskalis is the new colonialist’. The Indonesian government will not agree with the activists, because it sees Makassar as one of the most important ports in the country and wants the port to be expanded. Among other things, Makassar is important for the export of cocoa beans.
At the beginning of this month, the Amsterdam-based environmental and human rights organisation Both Ends announced in Trouw that it was taking Boskalis to court on behalf of Indonesian victims. Boskalis itself stated that in informing the local community, the company complied with the applicable regulations.
This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.
Picture by Boskalis.