A Cruise Ship Just Destroyed The Most Biodiverse Reef On The Planet

The cruise ship was caught in low tide and hit the reef

Credit: IFLScience

A British-owned ship has crashed into what is thought to be the most spectacular reef in the world, according to recent reports. After being caught in low tide just off the coast of West Papua, New Guinea, the ship that was carrying 102 guests at the time is thought to have severely damaged 1,600 square meters (17,200 square feet) of the colorful coral reef on Saturday, March 4. The 4,300-ton ship, called Caledonian Sky, was returning from a bird watching trip when she got caught on the reef, however, due to the vessel being equipped with radar and various other navigational equipment, the reason as to why this damage occurred is still unknown. The reports claim that the damage to the ship itself was minimal, although reports also state that due to the boat being subsequently tugged out of the shallow water, damage to the reef itself was the result of this.

Following reports of the ocean life damage, a local tourism organization posted on Facebook saying,

“How can this happen? Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough, but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level”.

However, the tour operator that owns the boat then issued a statement which called the event “unfortunate”, and stated that “it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures”. The specific reef that the ship crashed into is located in the Raja Ampat archipelago, which is commonly regarded as the most biodiverse marine environment in the world, therefore also making it the richest ecosystem both above and below water. Marine research has shown that it is

“How can this happen? Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough, but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level”. However, the tour operator that owns the boat then issued a statement which called the event “unfortunate”, and stated that “it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures”. The specific reef that the ship crashed into is located in the Raja Ampat archipelago, which is commonly regarded as the most biodiverse marine environment in the world, therefore also making it the richest ecosystem both above and below water. Marine research has shown that it is thought to be home to over 1,700 different species of fish, at least 700 types of mollusk, and over 600 hard corals, which is over 75 percent of all described coral species throughout the world.

The environmental website Mongabay has claimed that due to the special and unique status of the reef, along with the site’s popularity amongst scuba divers, as well as it being situated within a national park, it is likely that the tour operator of the ship will face hefty fines for the incident. They have since reported that the evaluation team will seek a compensation figure between $1.28 million and $1.92 million, which, considering the size of the damage, works out to be around $800 to $1,200 per square meter that was destroyed by the ship earlier this month. Not only has the ship caused the destruction of incredibly important structural elements of the reef, but reports also suggest that damage was done that has significantly reduced the diversity of at least eight different genera of corals. The money that will be claimed from the company will be used to restore one of the world’s most popular dive sites to as close to its original state that people travel to see as possible, although it could take up to an entire decade to fully return it to how it was before the ship damaged it.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


This article (A Cruise Ship Just Destroyed The Most Biodiverse Reef On The Planet) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

Popular On True Activist

More On True Activist

To Top