The Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua are famously known by divers worldwide as a pristine location with unmatched underwater biodiversity. (B1 Photo/Danung Arifin)

Raja Ampat Coral Damage Worse Than Expected

BY :RATRI M. SINIWI

MARCH 22, 2017

Jakarta. More than 18,000 square meters of coral reef in Dampier Strait of Raja Ampat, West Papua, were damaged by Caledonian Sky cruise ship, a joint survey team has revealed earlier this week. The damage is more than 11 times bigger than a preliminary investigation suggested.

"Both parties [the national survey team and insurance survey team] have concluded that the damaged area is 18,882 square meters", Coordinating Maritime Affairs Deputy Minister Arif Havas Oegroseno said in a statement on Tuesday (21/03).

"[The area of] 13,270 square meters was badly damaged by the ship, while 5,612 square meters were destroyed by shockwaves," Arif said.

A follow-up in-depth analysis will be conducted in April, while another team will calculate the economic loss.

"The loss-assessment [team] will be led by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as mandated by the 2009 Law on the Protection of Environment," Arif said.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the incident is also an international crime and will involve several foreign governments.

"The settlement has to involve the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Bahamas," Luhut said, as quoted Antara news agency.

Caledonian Sky cruise ship is owned and operated by Swedish company Salen, although it bore the flag of the Bahamas.

The ship's ticketing agent is registered in the UK and its captain, American resident Keith Michael Taylor, holds a British passport.

Despite the Caledonian Sky's good intentions to solve the issue, the Indonesian government is considering to take the case to an international court and seek higher compensation.

The islands off of West Papua are famously known by divers worldwide as a pristine location with unmatched underwater biodiversity. The waters of Raja Ampat have been recorded to be the home of 1,508 fish species, 537 coral species, 699 mollusk species and a plethora of other marine life.

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