Cruise ship destroys coral reef

20 March, 2017, 07:40 | Author: Oscar Goodwin
  • Cruise Ship M  V Caledonian Sky

Indigenous communities from Yembuba village in Raja Ampat regency, West Papua, were saddened by the damage to the coral reefs after British cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky ran aground in shallow waters in the area last week.

Security monitoring will cover almost 1,600 square meters of damaged coral reef beds caused by the British cruise ship Caledonian Sky.

The Caledonian Sky, a 4,200-tonne cruise ship, was on a voyage organised by a London company when it smashed into the reefs at low tide around Kri, one of hundreds of tiny islands in Raja Ampat, West Papua province.

Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia has always been a top attraction for intrepid travellers and avid divers, home to palm-fringed islands surrounded by an underwater kaleidoscope of coral and fish.

On Friday Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan, a senior figure in the cabinet who is close to President Joko Widodo, summoned the British ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik.

There has been outrage in Indonesia and local officials have suggested the captain could face criminal charges.

He expressed hope that the matter could be resolved quickly, but noted that the ship "is owned, managed, crewed and operated by a Swedish company based in Gottenberg".

"This is a very, very big loss for us", Victor Nikijuluw, the marine programme director at Conservational International Indonesia, said.

The ambassador added: "I'm disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua, as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world".

According to the local police chief, the initial inquiry revealed that the direct impact of the incident was the destruction of 1,600 square meters of coral reefs in the territorial waters of West Weigeo in Raja Ampat.

The ship's operator, Britain-based tour company Noble Caledonia, said in a statement to the Jakarta Post newspaper that it is "firmly committed to the protection of the environment and as such deeply regrets any damage caused to the reef". "Moreover, we have not been included by the government in the process to claim compensation for the damage", said Habel.

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