Indonesia seeks justice after cruise ship 'irreparably' damages world's richest coral reef

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The minister said she could not yet confirm how many square meters of the coral reefs had been damaged by the cruise ship. Tourism organization Stay Raja Ampat wrote that, "Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough, but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level".

The ship got stuck, and to set it free, a tugboat had to pull it to deeper waters, but this action caused more damage to the reef. They found out that the episode destroyed the marine's habitat especially the eight coral species discovered in the reef, which include the stony Acropora, Porites, Montipora and Stylophora family. Now that the reef is badly damaged, locals are anxious that it will greatly impact the appeal of their island to tourists. "It is counterproductive for our tourism prospects", Laura Resti, from Raja Ampat's homestay association, told the BBC.

Siti said the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry would coordinate the handling of the incident, in which the Environment and Forestry Ministry would specifically handle the damaged coral reefs and prepare measures to bring the environmental destruction case to justice. Was a 12-year-old at the wheel?

Noble Caledonia, the British-based tour company that operates the Caledonian Sky, said they were "very upset" by the damage, were working to reach a settlement with the government and had set up a fund to help fix the reef.

Caledonian Sky, weighing 4,290 tons, was carrying102 passengers as well as 79 crew on a 16-night trip from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines.

Describing the incident as "unfortunate", a spokesman said "it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures".

'The inspection revealed that the hull was undamaged and remained intact.

Initial figures recommended by the evaluation team suggest that compensation in the region of $800 - $1,200 per sq m should be paid by the cruise company, as the reef is part of a national park and also one of the world's most spectacular dive sites.

The ship itself "did not take on water, nor was any pollution reported as a result of the grounding", said the company.

The remote archipelago of Raja Ampat - which means Four Kingdoms in Indonesian - lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Officials said evidence collected in the area will be used to later to identify the amount of compensation Noble Caledonia must pay to Indonesia.

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