Australia reportedly claims to be the owner of Sand Island. The island is in the Timor Sea which is about 170 kilometers from Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Australia calls the island the Ashmore and Cartier Islands. The first European to reach the Ashmore and Cartier Islands was Samuel Ashmore, on June 11, 1811.
Reported by the site geoscience australia, government agency, on Monday (24/10/2022), Ashmore and Cartier Islands are located on the outer side of the continental shelf in the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea. From the northwestern coast of Australia, the island is about 320 km.
The archipelago is composed of coral and sand with little grass, and is uninhabited. Ashmore is called a reef, not an island. Cartier is referred to as an island. The Ashmore Coral Cluster has an area of 583 sq km, the largest reef having an area of 1.12 km.
Cartier Island is 300 km from Australia and 200 km from Roti Island, NTT, Indonesia. Cartier Island is 70 km from Ashmore Reef. Carier Island is an unvegetated sand island, covering an area of 167 sq km. This island area contains high biological diversity, there are 547 fish species identified, 16% are Australian fish species.
Sand Island or Ashmore and Cartier Islands (Google Maps) Photo: Sand Island or Ashmore and Cartier Islands (Google Maps)
“The proximity to Indonesian territory has led to the island being the subject of official joint discussion in recent years,” Australia said in a statement on the website.
Australia entered into an agreement to establish maritime boundaries with Indonesia in 1997. Australia calls these islands within 12 nautical miles of their territorial sea.
Indonesian fishermen visit Karang Ashmore every year under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governments of Australia and Indonesia, which allows them (Indonesian fishermen) to use the marine area which they have traditionally accessed for centuries.
Indonesian fishermen have also frequented Cartier Island for centuries. Fishermen usually collect birds, bird eggs, mussels/oysters, sea cucumbers, sea cucumbers, clams, turtles, and turtle eggs. All of this is collected by Indonesian fishermen for consumption and sale in Asian markets.
The Beginning of the Sand Island Dispute Resurfaces
The territorial dispute between Indonesia and Australia related to Pasir Island in the south of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has again become a concern after the indigenous people of the Timor Sea called for Kangaroo Country to leave the island. The Mandate of the Customary Rights of the Indigenous Seas of Timor, Ferdi Tanoni, has threatened to file a lawsuit over the ownership of Pasir Island by Australia to the Australian Commonwealth Court in Canberra.
“If Australia doesn’t want to leave the Pasir Island cluster, we will be forced to take a case regarding the rights of our indigenous peoples to the Australian Commonwealth Court in Canberra,” said Ferdi Tanoni in Kupang, quoted by Reuters. BetweenFriday (10/21/2022).
Ferdi, who is also the chairman of the West Timor Care Foundation, said Australia’s claim to Pasi Island has sparked a lot of reactions from people in Indonesia.
According to him, so far, despite being pressured to leave the Sand Island cluster, the Australian government seems indifferent. In fact, recently there was oil drilling activity in the area of the island group.
“In fact, the area absolutely belongs to the indigenous people of Timor, Rote, and Alor,” he said.
This, he continued, proved that there were graves of the ancestors of Rote and various other artifacts in the Sand Island cluster.
The RI-Australia dispute over Sand Island has occurred since 1974 when Canberra-signed a memorandum of understanding (Mou) regarding territorial boundaries. At that time, Australia quickly claimed Pasir Island as its own and until now it has become a dispute with Indonesia.
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