The Indonesian government is not remaining quiet after a cruise ship operated by a British company destroyed part of a pristine reef in Raja Ampat earlier this month, and Luhut Panjaitan, Co-ordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, has now reportedly summoned the UK ambassador Moazzam Malik for discussions on the situation.
He said that he was ‘disappointed to learn about the damage to this coral reef in West Papua, as we are with any environmental incident that occurs in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world’, and added: “”We hope the matter can be resolved quickly between the Indonesian authorities and Noble Caledonia, the company that is responsible for this accident and was managing the cruise ship.”
The 4,290-tonne Caledonian Sky was taking 102 tourists on a bird-watching expedition when it hit the reef off Kri at low tide. The ship was eventually freed without suffering any hull damage, but apparently the destruction of the reef – some 1,600 sq m was affected – was made worse by failed attempts to pull the large vessel into deeper water with a tugboat without waiting for high tide.
People in the area who rely on dive and environmental tourism have been devastated by the damage to the marine-life-rich reef, which lies in a region known globally for its marine biodiversity, and local officials have suggested the captain of the cruise ship could face criminal charges.