DAMAGE TO CORAL REEFS IN RAJA AMPAT IS GREATER THAN 1,600M2?

Damage to coral reefs at Raja Ambat due to being hit by a Noble cruise ship Caledonia could be greater than 1,600m2 originally estimated.

The Indonesian government is still evaluating the damage so that it will immediately determine the steps for restoration and rehabilitation. The Indonesian government will also file a lawsuit with the Noble Caledonia ship company in the near future.

According to the Director General of Sea Space Management of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Brahmantya Poerwadi, after knowing the total area and types of coral damaged by being hit by the MV Caledonian Sky, the government will also assess the multiplier effect that was incurred and opportunity lost (costs for lost opportunities ) of the incident.

“Multiplier effects, for example there where the place is schooling ground. Because there is no place where possible, the income of the fisheries will not be available. The constraints on the tourism side are also very detrimental there. We will also evaluate it. How much do they get it? a year? ” said Brahmantya.

“We must detail this lost of opportunity until the rehabilitation of the coral reef has been estimated for the time to return to normal,” Brahmantya added.

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From the huge damage, the government can only make a budget for the restoration and rehabilitation of coral reefs which can take up to 20 years.

“Coral is the fastest (growing) five centimeters per year, determined by habitat and sea water conditions. The clearer, the faster (growth),” explained Brahmantya.

Law suit
The destruction of coral reefs violates Law No. 32/2009 and therefore the Indonesian government will immediately file a criminal and civil claim to the shipowner’s company,

“Calling to the entity will be carried out immediately. Will the details make the ship motionless, it will be determined. Also will call the main and local agencies for initial fact finding and claim to Caledonian Sky,” explained Brahmantya.

Currently the ship is already in the Philippines. The permit came out, and previously entered the waters of Raja Ampat, given by Syahbandar Jayapura.

“The ship was released with permission from the Syahbandar. That will be asked later at the meeting (coordination at the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs),” said Brahmantya.

Earlier it was reported that Noble Caledonia would be asked to pay compensation of US $ 1.28 million (around Rp. 17 billion to US $ 1.92 million) to restore Raja Ampat’s condition, but Brahmantya said the amount would still be evaluated again after obtaining actual data from the field.

“The cases of ships that hit the reef were not the first time actually. In Indonesia there were once barges crashing on Sulawesi, on Batam, in Karimun. The scale of the ship was different. Some replaced it with several billion rupiah.

“This is a slightly different case, there are big cruise ships entering crashing with some consequences, so it cannot be instant, it must go through processes and stages,” said Zulficar Mochtar, Head of the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Research.

Apology Noble Caledonia

Yacht company Noble Caledonia apologized for the incident and promised to pay for the loss that arose.

“We are currently working with experts to find out how we can help with the regeneration of coral reefs. We apologize for the impact that has taken place on local communities,” as stated in their press release.

“Noble Caledonia has prepared a fund that aims to help local communities and contribute to the improvement of coral reefs. We also want to send our expedition team to help regenerate coral reefs.”

“In addition, we also have insurance and our insurance company is working with the Indonesian government and coral reef assessment experts. Together, we will work towards a fair and realistic solution.”

Chronology of incidents
On March 3, the Bahamas-flagged MV Caledonian Sky cruise ship and headed by Captain Keith Michael Taylor, who brought 79 crew and 102 tourists arrived in Yenwaupnor village, which is a conservation area of the waters of the Dampier Strait.

The next day at noon, the ship drove towards Bitung and crashed into a coral reef at a depth of five meters in the waters of Kri Island.

According to the ship captain’s statement, the ship failed because he only relied on GPS and radar without taking into account the tides.

Based on preliminary estimates of the extent of damaged coral reefs reached 1,600m2 due to the movement of MV Caledonian Sky which tried to get out of the area failed, not because it was pulled by a tug boat.

The ship was released by Syahbandar Jayapura on March 5.