Indonesia warns of possible tsunami after M6.1 quake

Published June 16, 2021, 9:42 PM

by Bloomberg

Indonesian authorities have warned of aftershocks and a possible tsunami after a 6.1-magnitude quake hit the Maluku islands, a key nickel production area.

Those living along the coastlines of Japutih and Apiahu on Seram island, Maluku, should stay vigilant, the meteorological, climatological and geophysical agency said in a statement on Wednesday. Residents are told to move away from the shoreline toward higher ground.

Seram is one of the biggest islands in the province. Maluku and neighbouring North Maluku are home to key nickel mines and smelters as well as a planned multibillion-dollar copper smelter project by PT Freeport Indonesia and China’s Tsingshan Holding Group.

Resource-rich Indonesia, home to a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves, sit along the Pacific Ocean’s “ring of fire” zone of active volcanoes and tectonic faults, making it prone to earthquakes. The 6.1-magnitude quake was detected at a depth of 10 kilometres off the coast of Seram island, and has been followed by at least 13 aftershocks.

Video clips shared by the search and rescue agency show the sea level dropping at a port on Seram island and residents rushing along an asphalt road to reach safety.