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Will Noble Caledonia Act with Nobility?

Anger Grows in Indonesia Over Damage Caused by British Cruise Ship that Obliterated Huge Area of Protected Coral Reef


Bali News: Indonesia, Jackie Pomeroy, Raja Ampat, Nobel Caledonia , Crossover Reef
Click Image to Enlarge

(3/17/2017)

On March 4, 2017, the 90-meter MV Caledonia Sky cruise ship was repositioning from a bird watching stop within the Raja Ampat Marine Park in eastern Indonesia when the luxury ship ran aground while anchoring at low tide near a coral reef where the passengers planned to snorkel for the remainder of the afternoon.

While the passengers were landed ashore as a safety precaution, an inspection revealed no serious damage was done to the hull. Sadly, the coral reef, considered among the finest at Raja Ampat, fared less well.

Extensive damage was inflicted on Crossover Reef near Waigeo Island in the park. The damage to the reef was compounded by the efforts of the tugboat called from Sorong that, instead of waiting until high tide, persisted in pulling the ship off the reef at low tide exacerbating the damage to the reef.

Initial estimates of damage were limited to 1,600 square meters of the reef, but ongoing investigations indicate that as much as 13,500 square meters may have been affected by the grounding. Raja Ampat is widely considered the global epicenter of tropical marine biodiversity and is referred to as "The Crown Jewel" of the Papua’s Bird’s Head Seascape.

The British-owned, Bahamian-flagged ship from the Noble Caledonia line issued a statement of regret over the unfortunate incident and said they were cooperating with local authorities. Local stakeholders were angered by the incident and the significant damages to the reef in the resulting impact on the livelihood of local fishermen and tourism workers.

A long-time Bali resident, rural development specialist and frequent traveler in Eastern Indonesia, Jackie Pomeroy, said this sounded like a process that was likely to leave everyone unhappy. “Noble Caledonia is a high-end adventure travel company that is, by all accounts, very committed to good environmental stewardship. Why not turn things around and use this tragedy to help the company, communities, local institutions, and international researchers collaborate to repair the reef?” she said. “Everybody would benefit from this kind of constructive leadership, and it’s possible the partnership could generate solid advances in the science of coral reef regeneration.”

To convince the key players that working together would be better than just negotiating a financial settlement, Pomeroy started a petition on Change.org. After posting a link on her Facebook page and asking friends to share it, the petition has accumulated nearly three thousand supporters. “I hope this encourages the Government, Noble Caledonia and the communities to work together, and demonstrates that there are many people here and around the world who care about what happens in Raja Ampat.”

Meanwhile, the government of Indonesia has summoned the British ambassador in Jakarta demanding an explanation.

Summoned to speak with the coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, the UK 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".

He added: "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."

Noble Caledonia branded the incident as “unfortunate” and stated the Company was "firmly committed to protection of the environment".

Change.org Petition Calling on Noble Caledonia to Repair Raja Ampat Reef

Bringing a Reef to Grief


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