April 3 (UPI) — Indonesian authorities on Tuesday declared a state of emergency after an oil spill last weekend that killed multiple people.
A fire ignited from the spill killed four fishermen in the port city of Balikpapan, off the coast of Borneo Island.
“We’re in a state of emergency because of the oil spill’s impact,” Balikpapan City Secretary Fadli told The Straits Times.
Fadli added that the situation near the spill is still volatile.
“I may sound like I’m exaggerating, but the state of the bay is like that of a gas station,” he said.
The spill has spread rapidly since Saturday to areas around ports and beaches.
Environmental officials said a recovery team is working to contain the oil with floating barriers and chemical sprays.
“Our focus now is to mitigate the impact of the oil spill,” environmental director Rasio Ridho Sani said. “[We] have worked together to minimize the impact.”
Rasio said masks have been distributed to protect residents from the spilled fuel. About 1,200 people have become sickened so far.
The cause of the spill is under investigation.