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Asia Minute: Cruise Ship Destroys Indonesian Coral

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Preserving ocean coral is a priority for many scientists and others around the world, including here in Hawai‘i. One challenge is rising ocean temperatures—but another one can be certain aspects of tourism. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


A British cruise ship has destroyed nearly 2,000 square yards of pristine coral off the coast of Indonesia.

That may not sound like a lot of territory, but a marine researcher heading an assessment team estimates the cost of restoration at nearly 19 million dollars.

The Caledonian Sky cruise ship slammed into the reef at low tide in an area called Raja Ampat, a fairly remote set of islands in the northeastern part of the Indonesian archipelago.

The group Conversation International says the area is home to nearly 1,400 varieties of fish and more than 600 species of coral.

This cruise ship managed to get trapped at low tide in an area where it was not even supposed to be in the first place, and despite being equipped with radar and making use of a global positioning satellite.

That led a local tourism website to ask “How can this happen? Was a 12-year-old at the wheel?”

“Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough,” the web post continued, “but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level.”

The Indonesian government says it will seek financial damages from the cruise company, Noble Caledonia….which told the Jakarta Post it is working on a settlement.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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