Indonesia vows action after United Kingdom cruise ship ruins coral reef

  • Indonesia vows action after United Kingdom cruise ship ruins coral reef

Indonesia vows action after United Kingdom cruise ship ruins coral reef

A British-owned cruise ship ran aground in shallow waters off the Indonesian coast and smashed into protected coral reefs at a local island chain.

Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia has always been a top attraction for travellers, home to islands surrounded by a kaleidoscope of coral and fish. Raja Ampat is known as one of the world's most unique places due to the beauty of its coral reefs and its rich biodiversity.

Laura Resti of Raja Ampat's homestay association said what occurred was "counterproductive" for their local tourism aspirations, as coral reefs mainly draw in the crowds visiting the national park.

What the coral reef looked like before and after.

The ecosystem's fragile structural habitat has been destroyed, with the loss of coral genera diversity.

An official evaluation team found that the ship had been caught in low tide despite being equipped with modern Global Positioning System and radar instruments, according to team member Ricardo Tapilatu, head of the research center for pacific marine resources at the University of Papua.

"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.
The statement continues to say that 'Noble Caledonia has established a fund with the aim of helping the local population and contributing to the fix of the reef'.

The boat, which was carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew, became grounded on the reefs and only refloated later on a high tide. Was a 12-year-old at the wheel?

Local tourism promoter Stay Raja Ampat posted on Facebook, "How can this happen?"

The vessel had set sail from Papau New Guinea on February 25 and was scheduled to arrive in the Phillipines on March 14.

Mr Victor Nikijuluw, marine programme director at environmental group Conservation International Indonesia, said: "Even when (the reefs) grow back, they will not be as pristine as they were before".

"The skipper forced the ship to enter the area, which was not open to cruise ships", he said.

"The damage caused by boat anchors like this one is already serious enough, but the blockage of a liner in the reefs reaches a level never equaled", said the site. He further added that the damaged area stretched for more than 145,000-square-miles.