Australian oil spill class action trial to begin Monday

A CLASS action lawsuit against a major oil company responsible for a catastrophic spill off the northern coast of Western Australia 10 years ago will begin in Sydney on Monday.

At least 40 million litres of crude oil spilled into the ocean between Indonesia and Australia in 2009, after an offshore oil well blew up in the Timor Sea.

The ‘Montara oil spill’ as it is now known is considered one of Australia’s worst oil disasters, lasting 70 days and destroying the livelihoods of 15,000 fishers and seaweed farmers in Indonesia.


Ten years after the disaster, and the coastal communities impacted by the spill are yet to be compensated.

Australia’s leading class action law firm, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, is hoping to change that.

Source: Supplied/Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Source: Supplied/Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

The Australian law firm is representing the Indonesian farmers in a major class action lawsuit against the oil company responsible for the disaster, PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd.

The 10-week Federal Court trial begins in Sydney on Monday.

Lead plaintiff, Daniel Sanda claims the seaweed industry in Rote Ndao and Kupang was destroyed by the company’s failure to safely operate the Montara Wellhead.

Over 30 Indonesian witnesses, including farmers who watched the oil arrive and destroy their crops, are expected to give evidence, alongside several internationally renowned experts on oil spill modelling, chemistry and environmental impact.