Friday, October 5, 2018

Shipping Warned to Stay Clear of Indonesian Volcano as Ports Attempt to Return to Normal

Krakatoa Breathes Fire Down Again Upon a Stricken People
Shipping News Feature
INDONESIA – News of a new horror for inhabitants of a country so terribly wounded by the earthquake and subsequent Tsunami which struck the Palu region on September 28, and which now has been subject to a continuous series of eruptions from Mount Anak Krakatau, witnessing around 160 such events in the past two days. The volcano, better known to European readers as Krakatoa, is the formation left after the cataclysmic occurrences when it was the scene of one of the most destructive volcanic events in recorded history, with well over 36,000 deaths when it erupted in 1883.

Residents and vessels have been ordered to remain at least 2 kilometres from the volcano and the event has triggered a seismic alert reaching, two on the scale of four system used locally. Rescue and repair efforts in the stricken regions have intensified this week as the area attempts to return to some semblance of normality, an almost impossible task given the rising death toll, over 1,400 so far, and the displacement of thousands whose homes and possessions have been lost.

In shipping matters the closure of the port of Palu for some months which we reported earlier this week was somewhat tempered by the news that another port on the Makassar Strait, Pantoloan, has reopened. Despite some damage to the quay and materials handling equipment the port is now functioning.

We currently have no news of other shipping facilities in the devastated region including Ampana, Luwuk, Belang-Belang and Majene but more information can be obtained directly from local agents such as GAC Indonesia which can be contacted here.

Meanwhile Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport in the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu has commenced 24-hour operations for relief flights transporting search and rescue personnel and badly needed humanitarian aid and is maintaining normal operating hours (0600 to 2200 hours local time) for commercial flights.

When Krakatoa erupted 135 years ago it too caused deadly Tsunami’s to sweep across the sea killing many more. The final explosion was heard 5,000 kilometres away and is said to have ruptured the eardrums of sailors in a 40 kilometre radius and producing a barometric wave that was recorder passing completely around the globe at least seven times. Some areas on Indonesia are still laid waste by the debris and the debris darkened the sky over much of the surface of the earth for some years and turning the moon blue.

Photo: Eruptions, such as this one in 2016, are a regular feature at Mount Anak Krakatau.