Indonesian seaweed farmers

Litigation funding can provide access to justice for the economically disadvantaged. This is demonstrated by the AU$ 250 million+ Australian class action funded by Harbour and brought by some 15,000 seaweed farmers against PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd, an oil company whose negligence caused a serious oil spill in the Timor Sea.

Background

On 21 August 2009, an oil rig in the Montara oil field began uncontrollably spewing oil into the Timor Sea. An estimated 300,000 litres of oil contaminated the sea. In addition, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s clean-up operation saw more than 180,000 litres of dispersants sprayed into the water. What was one of Australia’s worst oil disasters had a devastating impact on the seaweed crops of thousands of Indonesian seaweed farmers, virtually destroying their livelihoods.

Harbour’s funding

Without funding, the seaweed farmers lacked the means to seek damages from the oil company but with our funds, not only are the lawyers paid but, in the event that the claim is unsuccessful, the claimants will be protected from having to pay the defendant’s adverse costs.

Outcome

The case is ongoing.