A British-owned cruise ship ran over Indonesia's coral reefs at Raja Ampat after steering away from its original tour course. The Caledonian Sky Ship, operated by Noble Caledonia, has smashed about 1,600 sqm of corals in the Crossover Reef due to the vessel running on low tide.
The ship just finished its bird-watching tour on Waigeo Island when it went northwest and veered into the reef, damaging the ecosystem on March 4. Investigators of the incident discovered that the ship was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities like GPS and radar instruments to foresee the surroundings of the cruise liner, but the ship's crew continued to drift the low tides.
Head of the Research Center for Pacific Marine Resources at the University of Papua, Ricardo Tapilatu, told reporters in a statement:"They should've waited for high tide" to refloat the vessel. They found out that the episode destroyed the marine's habitat especially the eight coral species discovered in the reef, which include the stony Acropora, Porites, Montipora and Stylophora family.
Raja Ampat is a known national park and one of the world's most popular dive sites; therefore, compensation for the damages will cost $800 to $1,200 or an estimated total between $1.28m and $1.92m to be paid by Noble Caledonia. If the company disagrees with the settlement, the Indonesian government will take matters to court.
If the two parties reached an agreement, it would take about two years until the country receives the money. The cash for settlement will be used for the rehabilitation of the coral reefs.
Tapilatu estimated that it would take them ten years rebuild the habitat. He mentioned that at the moment they could only do nothing until they have the money. "The government has had talks about compensation with the shipping company, and I'm optimistic that this won't go to court. Unfortunately, there will not be any moves for coral revival until we get the money," he added.