THERE are fewer and fewer pristine coral reefs left in the world after many have been attacked by pollution and arguably the Crown of Thorns starfish but there is now 1,600 square metres less after a British cruise ship ran aground on one in Indonesia.
The Caledonian Sky which is owned by Noble Caledonia was in the waters around Waigeo Island, which sits between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and had been taking ornithologists on bird-watching expeditions when it veered off course despite being equipped with the latest technology.
Having become trapped on the reef, during low tide, rather than wait to float off as the tide rose, it called for a tugboat to pull it off, increasing the damage caused to the coral reef which is a major attraction for tourists who visit to dive in the clear waters.
Local people are understandably very upset by the damage caused to both the environment and their economic prosperity and are demanding compensation of at least €1 million from the company and for an investigation into both the causes of the accident and the long-term damage done.
The owners of the vessel have confirmed that their ship did not suffer any major structural harm and will assist in the proposed investigation by the official evaluation team.