The British operator of the cruise ship which destroyed swathes of pristine reef in the diving hotspot of Raja Ampat in Indonesia when it ran aground in early March has been slapped with an immense fine that equates to £350 million.
The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry based the level of the fine to Noble Caledonian on a calculation taking into account damage related to the Raja Ampat ecosystem, economy and society, ecosystem rehabilitation and costs involved in the damage claim, and ended up with a sum of 6 trillion Indonesian Rupiah.
The Ministry stated that the overall damage to Kri Reef caused by the Bahamian-flagged vessel MV Caledonian Sky on 3 March was 18,882 square metres, with some 13,270sq m being totally destroyed. Some 120 passengers and 70 crew were onboard at the time.
Noble Caledonian had released a statement in the aftermath of the grounding stating that it was working with the Indonesian government to establish a ‘fair and realistic’ financial settlement to cover the damage, but apparently the amount being negotiated by the ship's insurance company – SPICA – had been a much lower figure.
The Indonesian government is standing firm, though, and while acknowledging that negotiations can take some time, it was not willing to reduce the amount of damages.