Ministry to check damage to Raja Ampat coral reefs
The Jakarta Post
A team from the Environment and Forestry Ministry is set to examine the damage caused to coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Papua, when a UK cruise ship, the MV Caledonian Sky, ran aground in shallow waters in the area.
“Our team will dive to check the level of the damage,” said Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya as quoted by kompas.com at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday. The minister said she could not yet confirm how many square meters of the coral reefs had been damaged by the cruise ship.
Siti said the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry would coordinate the handling of the incident, in which the Environment and Forestry Ministry would specifically handle the damaged coral reefs and prepare measures to bring the environmental destruction case to justice.
(Read also: Cruise ship smashes into coral in Raja Ampat)
As there was still no clear data on the extent of the damage to the coral reefs, Siti said, the ministry did not yet know how large a fine it would seek from the MV Caledonian Sky’s owner.
“I do not yet known exactly. I will let you know if there is progress [in the investigation]. Actually, it’s not only about the extent of the damaged coral reefs. We have to truly consider the value of its natural richness,” said Siti.
The Caledonian Sky passed through Raja Ampat waters on March 4 to bring 102 tourists on board to enjoy birdwatching on Waigeo. The ship became trapped in shallow waters. A rescue boat attempted to pull the ship out of the waters when it was not yet in high tide, causing damage to the coral reefs in the area. (dis/ebf)
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