Cruise Operator Heavily Fined for Raja Ampat Reef Damage
The Indonesian Government has fined the British operator of a cruise ship that ran aground on a coral reef in Raja Ampat the hefty sum of six trillion Indonesian Rupiah – more than £350 million at today's exchange rate.
According to an article on the Indonensian Tempo.Co website, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry calculated the overall damage to the reef at 18,882 square metres, with 13,270sq m being totally destroyed, caused when British-owned, Bahamian-flagged vessel MV Caledonian Sky struck Kri Reef in Raja Ampat, West Papu as reported in March 2017.
Noble Caledonian, the operator that owns the ship, released a statement in the aftermath of the grounding that is was 'working with the Indonesian government to establish a ‘'fair and realistic'' financial settlement to cover the damage,' adding that ‘Noble Caledonia has established a fund with the aim of helping the local population and contributing to the repair of the reef.’
The financial settlement is being negotiated by the ship's insurance company - SPICA - and Tempo.co quotes an unidentified government offical as saying that SPICA 'had calculated a much lower figure,' although the actual amount is not reported.
Environment Ministry Pollution and Coastal Degradation Management Director Heru Waluyo said that the government based the level of the fine on a calculation taking into account damage related to the ecosystem, economy and society, ecosystem rehabilitation and costs involved in the damage claim.
Heru is reported as saying that 'the negotiation can take some time to settle,' and that 'the government will not reduce the amount of damages and will reject SPICA’s damage calculation claim'
'If it refuses to pay, we may refer [the case] to the international tribunal,' Heru added.
MV Caledonian Sky, a luxury cruise ship carrying 120 passengers and 70 crew, ran aground at Kri Reef in Raja Ampat, one of the world's most spectacular and pristine coral reef systems, on 3 March. Initial reports suggested it was caused by a navigational error, and the damage further exacerbated by attempts to refloat the vessel at low tide.