The Jakarta Post
Regardless of who will be blamed for the recent kerfuffle surrounding UK cruise ship the MV Caledonian Sky, which ran aground in Raja Ampat, West Papua, damaging coral reef in the area, the deputy minister for maritime sovereignty at the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said it must be admitted that Indonesia was not yet accustomed to handling a large number of cruise ships.
Speaking to journalists during a recent interview, Arif Havas said it was only recently that cruise ship companies across the world included Indonesia as one of their destinations because of a string of regulations imposed by the government.
“They were previously somewhat reluctant to visit Indonesia. They just wanted to stop in Singapore. They didn’t want to enter Indonesia because of its [flawed] bureaucracy, its ‘red tape’ [illegal levies] and poor infrastructure,” he said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Tuesday.
With a growing number of cruise ship visits, Arif Havas said infrastructure in Indonesia was not yet ready to handle the challenge.
“Our effort to draw in more ‘cruise visits’ to boost our tourist sector will certainly result in challenges,” he added.
One of the measures the government will take is to tighten regulations for cruise ships that pass through conservation areas such as Raja Ampat.
Arif Havas said in other conservation areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, cruise ships were allowed to pass through but were subject to tightened regulations.
“It’s not a strange thing to have a cruise ship enter waters with coral reefs.”
Arif Havas said with the current availability of tourist infrastructure in the country, the government was still calculating how many cruise ships could safely enter Indonesian waters. (hol/ebf)
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