Jakarta. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has taken over an investigation into the destroyed coral reefs off the shores of the Raja Ampat islands in West Papua after a British cruise ship ran aground earlier this month.
The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti, who had previously headed the investigation, handed the case over to the Environment Ministry on Thursday (16/03).
"The case will be handled by the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the Coordinating Maritime Ministry. We channeled our initial findings over to those ministries,” Susi said.
Meanwhile, the chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy, Adm. Ade Supandi, has ordered the main naval base near Raja Ampat to assist in providing security to the affected area.
Security monitoring will cover nearly 1,600 square meters of damaged coral reef beds caused by the British cruise ship Caledonian Sky.
Ade has also instructed Navy personnel to assist any related officials conducting investigations in the area.
"Even though it was not its intent, the cruise ship caused significant damage. I have instructed the nearby naval base to evaluate how the incident occurred," Ade said on Thursday.
"But it is clear that a state ministry will take charge. Whether they will decide to press charges or [apply] other measures, we will be provide any assistance needed," he added.
A preliminary investigation estimated that the cruise ship damaged nearly 1,600 square meters of coral reef at a diving site known as Crossover Reef, as the ship ran aground in shallow waters during low tide on March 4.
Experts involved in the investigation estimated that it will take years before the coral reefs begin to recover.
The central government will seek compensation of up to $1.92 million, according to the environmental science and conservation news and information website, Mongabay.
Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the damaged coral reefs in Raja Ampat, West Papua.