Jakarta. The West Papua provincial administration will investigate if MV Caledonian Sky, the UK cruise ship that ran aground in popular diving site Raja Ampat and damaged more than 1,600 square meters of coral reef on March 4, carried the right sailing permit when the incident happened.
West Papua regional secretary Nataniel D. Mandacan said on Thursday (16/03) every ship has to carry a permit before entering its waters.
The chairman of West Papua's conservation team has instructed the transportation agency to check on the ship’s sailing permit, including its cruising route within Raja Ampat waters.
According to Nataniel, the ship should have considered the depth and condition of the sea before sailing into Raja Ampat.
"The ship owner should pay for the damage to the coral reefs and take responsibility if other regulations are violated," he said.
"The Raja Ampat area is regulated not just by regional laws. It is also under international jurisdictions," Nataniel said.
West Papua Police Chief Brig. Gen. Martuani M. Siregar previously said the police have questioned several crew from the cruise ship.
A preliminary investigation estimated the cruise ship damaged more than 1,600 square meters of coral reef at a diving site known as the Crossover Reef, as it ran aground during low tide on March 4.
According to the environmental science and conservation news and information website Mongabay, the Caledonian Sky was traveling for 16 nights from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines with 181 people on board.
The government will seek between $800-$1,200 of compensation per square meter of corals damaged, resulting in a total compensation claim of $1.28-$1.92 million, Mongabay reported.
The damage to Raja Ampat, a Unesco World Heritage Site, has drawn international outrage.
Under the law on environmental conservation and management, the cruise ship operator, Noble Caledonia, might face imprisonment for the ship's damage to the coral reef.