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Indonesia summons British envoy over coral damaged by ship

20 March 2017, 07:40 | Kevin Scott

Indonesia summons British envoy over coral damaged by ship

Raja Ampat coral reef

The 4,200-ton cruise ship M.V. Caledonian Sky ran aground on coral reefs in the waters of Raja Ampat in West Papua province on March 4, causing extensive damage.

It will take 50 to 100 years for the Raja Ampat coral reef destroyed by a British cruise ship to be restored, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters on Friday (March 17).

Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia has always been a top attraction for intrepid travellers and avid divers, home to palm-fringed islands surrounded by an underwater kaleidoscope of coral and fish.

After being summoned to a meeting with Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, the United Kingdom ambassador Moazzam Malik said he had a "very good discussion" and was "disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua, as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world". The ship, carrying 79 crew members and 102 passengers, was later refloated during high tide.

The accident has damaged an estimated 13,500 square meters (145,000 square feet) of coral reef which could cost up to $16.2 million to restore, according to Ricardo Tapilatu, a marine researcher from the University of Papua who headed a team assessing the impact.

The ministry described the damage to the reefs as irreparable.

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"We are ready to take any possible steps to address the issue", Oegroseno said.

But the tug took numerous attempts to refloat the massive vessel, causing even more damage to the reef.

"We hope the matter can be resolved quickly between the Indonesian authorities and the company that is responsible for this accident and was managing the ship".

The ambassador added: "I'm disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua, as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world".

Meanwhile, Raja Ampat Customary Council head Kristian Thebu said separately that the council fully entrusted the governmental process to claim compensation for the damaged coral reefs.

CNN reported that insurance may pay for some of the environment damage, the Indonesian authorities said that the captain committed a crime and could be sent to prison.



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