It was 23 August and the morning sea breeze was still warm. Iwan, a 37-year-old fisherman from Kodingareng Island off the coast of Makassar, South Sulawesi, was happy to see a crowd of fish playing in the water. He smiled. It was a sign of luck. 

“Usually if the fish are like that, we leave them to gather,” he tells New Naratif.

Iwan drifted in his boat on the water for a while, at a fishing point called Copong, waiting for the potential catch to grow in size. Two hours later, he gasped. There was a large ship on the horizon. As it got closer, the fish that had been playing on the surface of the water disappeared. The ship floated like a small hill in the middle of the ocean. It was a sand dredger with a tonnage of 24 thousand cubic metres. Her name was “Queen of the Netherlands” owned by PT Royal Boskalis.

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Eko started his career as an announcer at Sindikasi Berita Pantau (Yayasan Pantau Jakarta) in 2008. Now a freelance writer, he has written for a range of publications including Mongabay and Vice Indonesia. He’s based in South Sulawesi.