United Kingdom ambassador to Indonesia summoned over coral damage

Cruise Ship M  V Caledonian Sky

Cruise Ship M V Caledonian Sky

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the damaged coral reefs in Raja Ampat, West Papua.

A small cruise ship did irreparable damage to an Indonesian coral reef that was listed on the world's most handsome reefs and now the captain of the ship could be charged with its destruction.

The eastern region is famous for its biodiversity and the boat was taking tourists on a bird-watching expedition.

Indonesian officials say the ship, which was carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew members, sailed on to Bitung in North Sulawesi province without waiting for an assessment of the damage.

The accident has damaged an estimated 13,500 square meters (145,000 square feet) of coral reef which could cost up to $16.2 million to restore, according to Ricardo Tapilatu, a marine researcher from the University of Papua who headed a team assessing the impact.

The customary law also supported local administrations to conserve sea ecosystems for the development of tourism in Raja Ampat, he explained. "How can this happen?"

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"Local people must be involved in the settlement of tourism problems in Raja Ampat", said Kristian.

The ministry described the damage to the reefs as irreparable. "Fish that were normally seen in that particular area are all gone".

"We are ready to take any possible steps to address the issue", Oegroseno said.

"However when we reached the site and spoke with the captain of the ship as well as one passenger, they refused to be evacuated and asked instead for a tug boat", local agency chief Prasetyo Budiarto told a television station.

The scale of the damage was caused by the ship's captain Keith Michael Taylor attempting to free the vessel after it ran aground on the reef, said Mr Luhut.

Noble Caledonia, the company that owns the ship, apologized, but only said that the ship ran aground earlier this month, BBC reported. "Moreover, we have not been included by the government in the process to claim compensation for the damage", said Habel. A 2002 report from Conservation International said it was home to almost 1,400 varieties of fish and 603 species of coral.

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