A British ship accidentally ran aground on a coral reef in Raja Ampat, an island near Papua province, Indonesia, last March 4. According to experts, the damage could be estimated in $18 million and Indonesia could sue the shipping company.
The ship, named Caledonian Sky, is operated by Noble Caledonia, a British company. It was carrying around 180 people, among passengers and crew members. According to Indonesia Investment, the accident was caused by the captain’s negligence and ignorance of the low tide.
The ship got stuck, and to set it free, a tugboat had to pull it to deeper waters, but this action caused more damage to the reef. Also, an investigation from the local authorities revealed that the ship went into the coral reefs area without authorization from local guides.
This was an unfortunate incident
According to a statement published by Noble Caledonia, the company is working with the Indonesian government and authorities in the investigation.
A spokesperson from Noble Caledonia said that it was “an unfortunate incident.”
“Noble Caledonia is firmly committed to the protection of the environment, which is why it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures,” he said, according to Cruisecritic.
However, Indonesians are not happy. The first official evaluation showed that the ship affected around 1,600 square meters of coral. Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry began to identify the affected corals and to estimate the magnitude of the damage.
On the other hand, the Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that the opportunity to demand compensation to the British company is open, and they are working with environmental organizations to prepare all the evidence that could take part in the legal process.
Conservation International Indonesia is working with experts from various national universities and investigation institutes. They said that the hit affected several endemic reefs that are unique to Raja Ampat.
“The type of reefs that were damaged by the ship are Genus Porites, Acropora, Poicilopora, Tubastrea, Montiporra, Stylopora, Favia, and Pavites. It will take decades to restore the reefs,” said Ricardo Tapilaty, according to the Jakarta Post.
The damaged area is part of the Coral Triangle
The archipelago of Raja Ampat is part of the Coral Triangle, an area that includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Solomon Islands. This area contains the richest marine biodiversity on Earth, being home for six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Coral Triangle houses one of the biggest commercial tuna industry.
According to its website, the WWF is currently working with Indonesia’s government to create marine protected areas in the Coral Triangle. The objective is to protect coral reefs and sea grass beds from harmful activities, mainly unsustainable fishing practices. The WWF wants to protect those areas to allow fish to reproduce freely and naturally.
Also, one of the most recent activities is the joint work with the communities to protect all turtle species living in the Coral Triangle. They are looking forward to raising awareness about marine turtles’ life and the risks they are facing.
Source: Fox News