The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has said the captain of UK cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky, which recently ran aground in Raja Ampat, West Papua, had previously made a similar mistake, in which his vessel entered shallow waters in Medan, North Sumatra, destroying sea biota in the area.
“We have data on the ship captain’s mistake in Medan,” said Luhut on Thursday. Therefore, the minister said, he very much regretted the decision of local authorities to release and let the Caledonian Sky vessel’s captain to leave Raja Ampat waters after it damaged coral reefs in the area.
Luhut said his ministry would investigate the parties that had permitted MV Caledonian Sky to continue its travel after the incident. The vessel should have not been permitted to leave the area.
“We will look into it first. There might have been improper procedures [applied by our authorities]," he said as quoted by kompas.com in Jakarta on Thursday.
(Read also: Ministry to check damage to Raja Ampat coral reefs)
The government has dispatched an integrated team, which involves the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister and the Transportation Ministry.
Luhut said the government would also take legal action over the incident. “Within the next two or three days, an official statement from the government will be released."
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said MV Caledonian Sky’s captain and owner could face both criminal and civil lawsuits. In terms of criminal prosecution, the vessel’s captain could be charged with violating Law No.32/2009 on environmental protection and management.
The cruise ship ran aground in shallow waters in Raja Ampat and destroyed coral reefs in the area on March 4 when it carried 102 tourists who wanted to enjoy bird-watching in Waigeo. (hol/ebf)