Five barges carrying coal from Kalimantan destroyed hundreds of square meters of coral around Karimunjawa Islands in Jepara, Central Java, when they took shelter from storms, an official has said.
Karimunjawa National Park Agency official Iwan Setiawan said the damaged coral was located in waters around Cilik, Gosong Tengah and Tengah islands where the five barges passed on Jan. 14 and Feb. 10 to find shelter from storms.
“The barges took shelter in the area because of bad weather, or the west season. Strong waves dragged their anchors, which damaged coral reef in the area. The first incident hampered barge Sinar Anugerah in January while four other barges suffered similar incidents in February,” said Iwan on Wednesday.
He further said the Karimunjawa National Park Agency had met the barges’ captains and made records of the incidents. The cases were later reported to the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s Environment and Forestry Law Enforcement and Security Agency in Surabaya, East Java.
Karimunjawa is a prime destination for maritime tourism in Central Java. It has 27 islands, five of which are populated by about 10,000 people. Every week about 2,000 local and foreign tourists visit the area.
The incidents received close attention from conservation group Alam Karimunjawa, which reported the cases to the Central Java Legislative Council.
Alam Karimunjawa head Jarhanudin said the destruction of coral by barges passing through waters around Karimunjawa Islands had been repeatedly reported to the Karimunjawa National Park Agency and port master. “We received few responses, however,” he said. (ebf)