Ship capsizes in waters off Indonesia’s Bali, leaving seven missing

KM Multi Prima One cargo ship heading to Waingapu town of East Nusa Tenggara province capsized in Bali Gulf after leaving waters off Surabaya, the provincial capital of East Java province, said Yusuf Latief, head of communication for media of the national search and rescue office. Seven out of 14 crewmembers remain missing and now the search operation to recover them is getting underway, he said. The search operation is being carried out at the radius of 200 nautical miles from the site of the sea incident, said Latief. The seven other crewmembers who survived the incident were rescued by another ship which was passing by the spot.

Sea water transport is a favorite transport means in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic country home to over 17,500 islands. A lack of safety standard has often triggered sea incidents. [Saigon Online November 27, 2018]


Keen to see a komodo dragon? $500 please, says Indonesian governor

Tourists keen for a close-up look at komodo dragons in their natural habitat could be hit with an alarming bill, if one Indonesian politician gets his way. The governor of East Nusa Tenggara province – home to the world’s biggest lizard – has proposed charging visitors $500 to see the endangered species, about 50 times the current entrance fee for foreign tourists at Komodo National Park. And if Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat   prevails, the park would be off limits to all but “extraordinary” visitors with cash to burn.

“(Komodo dragons) are very unique, but sadly they come cheap,” the governor said this week, during a speech to university administrators. “Only people with deep pockets are allowed to (see the komodo dragons). Those who don’t have the money shouldn’t visit the park since it specifically caters to extraordinary people,” he added. The governor – who also suggested recreational boats should be charged a $50,000 entrance fee – said he would talk with the central government, which administers the national park. The provincial government and federal environment ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the proposed fee hike. Indonesian politicians have a long history of announcing plans that rarely come to pass, including the former drug czar’s proposal to build a prison surrounded by moats filled with piranhas and crocodiles to tighten security.

Thousands of tourists annually descend on the cluster of islands in eastern Indonesia that are the only place in the world where komodo dragons can be seen in their natural habitat. Previously, the government planned to limit the number of tourists over concerns that the influx was putting pressure on the environment and endangering the giant lizard’s habitat.

The slavering carnivores, which can grow to around three meters (10 feet) in length and weigh up to 70 kilograms (154 pounds), can be dangerous to humans although deadly attacks are rare. [Coconuts Bali November 24, 2018]


Woman chases plane on tarmac at Bali airport after turning up late for flight 

A woman was so desperate to catch her flight at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport that she ran after the plane, which was already moving on the tarmac. The woman, whose identity is unknown, was bound for a flight to Jakarta on Indonesian low-cost carrier Citilink on Sunday morning (Nov 18), local media reports said. Shortly before Flight QG193 was scheduled to take off at 7.20am, the woman, who was late for the flight, broke away from security officers at the boarding gate before dashing onto the tarmac.

A 20-second clip of the incident was posted on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, and local reports said the video was shared by many in Indonesia. The clip shows the woman struggling as two airport officials hold her by her arms. She later ends up lying on the ground before she is restrained. A Citilink spokesman confirmed the incident with Indonesian broadcaster Liputan6 on Monday. The spokesman added that the plane had taken off after the runway was declared safe. The woman was placed on another flight to Jakarta, which departed at 4.40pm. [The Straits Times November 20, 2018]


Renae Lawrence hands herself in to police 

Just one day after Renae Lawrence returned to Australia after 13 years in an Indonesian prison, the Bali Nine drug trafficker has   handed herself in to police over a number of outstanding warrants. A spokeswoman for NSW Police confirmed the 41-year-old attended the Waratah police station in suburban Newcastle on Friday afternoon “in relation to outstanding warrants issued in 2005.” Ms Lawrence was allegedly involved in a police chase using a stolen car on the Central Coast on March 26, 2005, a month before she was arrested in Indonesia.

Police claim on that date, Ms Lawrence stole a car from Sydney’s inner west and drove north with fellow Bali Nine member Matthew Norman. The pursuit allegedly started in Enfield before the pair travelled through Turramurra, Mooney Mooney and Peats Ridge. The car was later stopped by police. By the time Gosford Local Court issued two warrants for her arrest in June that year, she was already in an Indonesian prison awaiting trial. The police spokeswoman said those warrants have now been processed. Ms Lawrence was granted conditional bail and is due to appear in Newcastle local court on Thursday, December 6.

Ms Lawrence walked free from Indonesia’s Bangli prison on Wednesday after her imprisonment for her role in the plan to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. She arrived back on Australian soil on Thursday morning, landing in Brisbane before flying on to her hometown of Newcastle. On Thursday, NSW Police Commissioner         Mick Fuller said that, despite believing Ms Lawrence had “paid the price for her sins”, the outstanding matters would be resolved via “arrest by appointment” in the coming days. “I have to be honest with you, I know she’s sinned, and I think she’s paid a fairly heavy price for that,” he said. “Nevertheless we will still take those two matters to court in terms of         the two matters that are still outstanding.” [Sydney Moring Herald November 23, 2018]


Baby dies after American mother allegedly throws her out of a moving car in Bali

The mum suffering from post-partum depression who allegedly threw her baby from a moving car in Bali hasn’t been told the child has died. The 32-year-old American woman allegedly threw her two-month-old daughter from the car and then tried to take her own life by also throwing herself from the vehicle, Indonesian police said on Wednesday. South Denpasar police chief Nyoman Wiarajaya told a news conference that officers haven’t been able to question Nicole Stasio because she is hospitalised in a severe state of depression. Friends on Facebook said Stasio had been suffering from post-partum depression.

A driver and guide who were with the 32-year-old told police she jumped out of the car without warning at an intersection in Denpasar and they were initially unaware of what had happened to the baby. Villagers found the infant with severe injuries about a kilometre from where Ms Stasio leapt out of the vehicle. The baby died about seven hours later at the same hospital, Bali Mandara, where Ms Stasio is being treated. As of Wednesday evening she had not been charged, and is reportedly is unaware of the child’s death.

Mr Wiarajaya said the woman, who was born in California, travelled to Bali with her parents in July. The parents stayed in Bali for about 10 days and Ms Stasio gave birth on the island in September after her parents had left Indonesia. “She refused to answer when they (the parents) asked about her baby’s father,” Mr Wiarajaya said, quoting information from the driver and tour guide who accompanied the family since they arrived. “But she gave the impression that she was unmarried and her family preferred that she give birth to a child abroad, like wanting to avoid something,” he said.

Ms Stasio had written on Facebook that she planned to return to California where she worked as a yoga instructor and health coach. The driver, Wayan Siaja, and the guide, Made Arimbawa, told police they had taken Ms Stasio and her daughter to Bali’s international airport on Tuesday evening but Ms Stasio changed her mind about returning to the US and told them to take her back to Ubud. They said she sat silently in the car before the tragic events unfolded, according to Mr Wiarajaya.

Ms Stasio had started a GoFundMe page for financial help in raising her child. “I am creating a life of beauty, abundance, peace, and unconditional love for myself and my little baby maestro,” she wrote on the page. “I am full of joy and excitement to be a mother and guardian of this rainbow starseed coming into this world in mid-August. I am doing the best I can to   make my dream a reality, and with this call for help from my community. I am overcoming my fear of asking for help. With great humility and gratitude, I ask for help from my friends and soul family to raise money for welcoming this baby into the world with a midwife and all the little necessities around childbirth.” [News.com.au November 23, 2018]


Bali plans to impose USD $10 levy on every foreign tourist arrival

Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said this new levy should add around IDR 1 trillion (approx. USD $67 million) in additional local revenue as Bali is expected to be visited by some 7 million foreign tourists in full-year 2019. The additional income that will be generated through the new levy will go to the local budget for cultural development and environmental preservation. “Considering presently only a 10 percent tax applies to hotel accommodations and restaurant meals, the new levy would generate more local revenue,” Koster said. Various other countries have a similar levy, he added.

The additional proceeds would be invested to improve a wide range of services that are offered to tourists, including infrastructure and transportation. However, it will also be used to boost the local economy and improve the quality of local human capital. For example, 1,493 traditional villages in Bali (desa adat) as well as various high-schools and health clinics (puskesmas) are expected to get free WiFi facilities in 2019 through the budget. The new levy plan is currently being studied. A decision is expected to follow within the next five weeks. If approved, then it will come into effect at the start of 2019.

In the January-September 2018 period a total of 4.6 million foreign tourists entered Bali through Ngurah Rai International Airport, up 1.32 percent compared to foreign visitor arrivals in the same period one year earlier. Natural disasters, however, remain a threat and can result in the failure to meet foreign visitor arrival targets. In late June 2018 Ngurah Rai International Airport had to be closed temporarily due to volcanic ash stemming from Mount Agung’s eruption, located in eastern Bali. Mount Agung rumbled back to life in 2017 and has been erupting periodically ever since. The volcano erupted five times in late November 2017, causing thousands of people to evacuate, disrupting air travel and causing environmental damage. Meanwhile, recent earthquakes around Bali and Lombok as well as a devastating tsunami in Central Sulawesi (all caused by heightened tectonic activity in the region) could make foreigners somewhat hesitant to visit Bali (or other parts of Indonesia). [Indonesia Investments November 22, 2018]