The First Monitoring Activity Completed for the Artificial Reef Created Through the Pilot Project for Decommissioning and Rig-to-Reef Re-utilization

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25 July 2023 – The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Mulawarman University, KHAN Consortium, KIORCC, and Oceanogen, with the support of the Police of Bontang City, the Indonesian Navy stationed in Bontang, the Tour Ship Service Provider Association, and the Bontang Hospital, successfully conducted the first monitoring activities of the reefed decommissioned Attaka platform off the coast of Bontang City.

This year’s monitoring activity was spread into a 4-day operation, utilizing multiple methods such as professional diver study through underwater cameras, ROV recordings, water sampling, and E-DNA studies.

On the first day of monitoring, personnel of the participating institutions used GPS and Echosounder equipment to survey the exact reefing location. The area was marked with buoys, and the divers from Mulawarman University took their first dive to conduct their visual documentation of the reef environment. Additionally, personnel from Oceanogen were able to collect water samples of the seabed to be studied in their laboratories. Water sample testing was also conducted on the boat, where Ph levels of the surrounding water were determined to be safe.

The second day of the monitoring operations was also used for the divers to collect more visual documentation of the reefing habitat. This day was also used by ROV operators from KHAN and MMAF to collect more documentation from their ROVs.

The third and fourth days of monitoring were purely used for divers to collect more documentation from the differing days. On the third day, the divers were surprised by an unexpected interaction with a 6-meter-long whale shark at around 10-meter depth. The whale shark also surfaced for a moment to greet those waiting on the boats.

The preliminary assessment of the data collected shows a growing coral environment on the artificial reef, along with schools of small-sized fish aggregating in the surrounding areas. The complete result of this year’s monitoring activities will be completed by the end of August 2023. Based on the agreement signed for the pilot project, monitoring activities will be conducted by the MMAF annually for three years. Through each monitoring session, the involved parties of this Pilot Project hope to see exponential growth of the reef environment, which will be able to support the plans of future Rigs-to-Reefs operations that may be conducted for some of the more than 100 abandoned offshore platforms in Indonesian waters.