The Indonesian seas not only have natural wealth but also abundant underwater treasure. Hundreds of treasure points are known to be scattered under the ocean or what is known as Sinking Ship Loading Objects (BMKT).
The Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management (PRL) of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) and the Association of Indonesian BMKT Lifting and Utilization Companies (APPP BMKTI) have recorded at least 464 underwater treasure points scattered in most of the waters in Indonesia.
Most of the underwater treasure points are scattered in western Indonesia, especially the Malacca Strait and the Riau Archipelago. Meanwhile, on the island of Java, the most treasure points are in Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java.
The reason why most underwater treasure points are scattered in Sumatra and Java is that these routes were known as trade routes during the royal era. Many ships are sunk for various reasons, especially due to weather and war.
Furthermore, based on the calculations of the Association of Companies for the Lifting and Utilization of Indonesian Sinking Ships, the value of the sunken assets reached US$12.7 billion.
From an economic standpoint, each BMKT location can be worth between US$80 thousand to US$18 million. If used to support tourism, it can generate US$ 800 to US$ 126 thousand per month per treasure location.
Even though the estimated amount of this treasure is very large, Indonesia has so far not been able to make use of it.
Based on the Performance Report for the first semester of 2020 of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, this value previously made the government intend to manage the BMKT itself and not want to hand it over to other parties.
This is because the underwater treasure is the identity of Indonesia as a maritime country.
Meanwhile, apart from real treasures, Indonesia is also known for having marine wealth in the form of marine genetic and biological resources.
The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) plans to conduct marine bioprospecting research to seek and explore genetic and biological resources in the deep sea to make them commercial products.
So far, research on the seas and oceans, especially in the deep sea, has been minimal, both from the aspect of disclosing living and non-living assets as well as aspects of oceanographic phenomena.