Indonesia: British-owned cruise ship damages large areas of coral

Caledonian Sky crashed into the reefs during low tide. Source: Facebook/Stay Raja Ampat

CLOSE to 19,000 sq m of coral in Indonesia’s Crossover Reef was damaged after a foreign cruise ship ran aground in waters.

After a survey of the Raja Ampat reefs, the damage was said to be “worse than initially thought”.

The British-owned Caledonian Sky cruise ship was carrying 102 passengers when it entered shallow waters off West Papua province, and was towed back out to sea.

The damaged area has been divided into two categories: over two-thirds were categorized as “heavily damaged” while the rest suffered “medium damage”.

Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno said the reefs with “medium damage” had only a 50 percent chance of survival.

He said much of the damaged area, amounting to the size of 70 tennis courts, were not salvageable.

SEE ALSO: Biggest ever coral die-off on Great Barrier Reef, major blow to tourism

A joint team for the government and the ship’s insurance company are calculating economic repercussions.

ABC reported Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said the government will be “very firm” in demanding compensation.

Havas said: “The people of Indonesia and the people of Papua have yet to hear Captain Keith Michael Taylor state an apology or remorse for the damage done by his act.

“The guardians of Raja Ampat, the people of Papua, are anxious to hear what British Captain Taylor has to say.”

The team will conduct a follow-up analysis of the situation.

The Crossover Reef area is known for its diving spots, biodiversity, and beaches. Overall, the area is still unspoiled from the commercialization of tourism.

SEE ALSO: Coral reefs will be tested to limit effects of climate change