30 tons of Ammonium Nitrate impounded in Bali Indonesian as this chemical is used to make bombs
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Bomb fears after Bali fertiliser bust
A BOAT containing 30 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer – a component often used in bomb making – has been seized in waters off Bali.
The boat was sailing from Malaysia to South Sulawesi when it was stopped by Customs officers doing a regular patrol.
Police said late yesterday it was believed the chemical was not linked to terrorism but was for use in fish bombs, a common practice in the region.
The Indonesian National Police director of economic and special crimes, Brig Gen Agung Setya, said that already this year there had been three attempts to smuggle 166 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to Sulawesi.
“All the cases are related with fish bombs. They have the same pattern. They bring it from Malaysia to Sulawesi. None of these are related with terrorism,” Brig Gen Setya said.
“It is being investigated but from the pattern it is quite the same as with previous cases, it is allegedly related to fish bombs,” he said.
He said the fish bombs destroy the environment.
The boat and its cargo were taken to Padangbai harbour. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
The wooden boat and its cargo were taken to Padangbai harbour, in East Bali where the potentially deadly cargo was offloaded.
Ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer, was used to build the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub bombs which killed 202 people. In that bombing one tonne of ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate was used to construct the car bomb which was exploded outside the Sari Club.
Ammonium nitrate is also widely used in Indonesia to make fish bombs, small bombs which fishermen use to stun and kill fish, and also for mining.
The Indonesian-flagged vessel, the KMP Alam Indah, had six crew, all from South Sulawesi, on board when it was stopped near Madura on Tuesday.
The deadly cargo is offloaded in Bali. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
The ship’s captain, 38-year-old Udin, told police he was asked by a man called Haji Hasin, in Selayar, South Sulawesi, to transport the ammonium nitrate to Selayar from Malaysia.
Udin was to be paid 8 million Rupiah or about $800 for the job and the crew got 5 Million Rupiah.
The head of enforcement and investigation at Custom and Excise Bali and NTB office, Husni Syaiful, said the boat and its load of chemicals was found during a routine Customs patrol at sea.
He said that the crew claimed not to know anything about the materials they were transporting, saying they were told only to transport it to South Sulawesi.
Ammonium nitrate fertiliser was used to make the bombs in the 2002 Bali attacks. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
“The ammonium nitrate was brought from Pasir Gudang in Malaysia to Selayar Isalnd in Sulawesi. But before they arrive there we found them in the northern part of Bali waters,” he said.
“They admitted that they brought around 30 tonnes. And there are a few parts of it that has been disposed into the ocean as the wooden vessel was leaking.
“Ammonium nitrate is actually material for fertilizer. But if it is mixed with other things it can be exploded,” Mr Syaiful said.
Thomas Aquino, the Customs and Excise officer who lead the patrol which impounded the boat said the vessel did not have a GPS navigation system.
And he said the ammonium nitrate packages were covered with fertilizer packages.
He said the crew was co-operative when arrested.
“When we found the boat was leaking, the crew was already weak. We escorted them from the ocean to Padangbai harbour. The boat almost sank,” Mr Aquino said.
It took about seven hours to escort the boat to Padangbai from the place it was found, travelling at a speed of about 19 knots.
Mr Aquino said the path the vessel was taking from Malaysia to Selayar Island was not a normal route but could have been used to avoid patrols.
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