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British Cruise Ship Damages Indonesia's Pristine Coral Reefs in Rajah Ampat Islands

Mar 15, 2017 07:15 AM EDT

A British cruise ship called Caledonian Sky crashed and damaged one of the most pristine coral reefs located in Indonesia's Rajah Ampat Islands during a low tide last week.

According to the report from Fox News, the total damage stretched over 145,000 square miles and costs approximately $18 million. Investigation conducted by the Papua State University, Regional Technical Implementing Unit and Conservation International Indonesia revealed that the crash also damaged several reefs that are endemic in Indonesia's Raja Ampat island chain.

"The types of reefs that were damaged by the ship are Genus Porites, Acropora, Poicilopora, Tubastrea, Montipora, Stylopora, Favia and Pavites," said Ricardo Tapilatu, lead researchers of the investigation, in a report from The Jakarta Post. "It will take decades to restore the reefs."

The 295-foot cruise ship weighs about 4,200 tons and has 102 passengers aboard. It was reported that the ship was just finishing up with its bird-watching trip on Waigeo Island when it veered slightly off course, running aground during the low tide and crashing through the coral reefs.

Investigators revealed that the cruise ship allegedly conducted their trip in the area without consulting local guides. Furthermore, the crew in the crew ship is reported to rely solely on GPS navigation without considering the tide.

Noble Caledonia, which operated the cruise ship, considered the accident as "unfortunate" accident. The company assured that they will completely cooperate to the investigation.

The Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry already send their staff in the accident area to assess the damage done to the coral reefs and to collect evidence. Officials said evidence collected in the area will be used to later to identify the amount of compensation Noble Caledonia must pay to Indonesia.

Locals were upset and enrage by the damaged done to the corals. One of the main income-generating activities in the area is their tourism, which relied heavily to the pristine coral reefs. Now that the reef is badly damaged, locals are worried that it will greatly impact the appeal of their island to tourists.

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