Cruise ship crashes into coral reefs in Indonesia

A rescue boat attempted to pull the ship out of the waters when it was not yet in high tide, causing damage to the coral reefs in the area. One professional driving instructor from Raja Ampat, the island chain where the reef is located, told the BBC that he cried after seeing the damage.

Stay Raja Ampat, a website that links tourists up with homestays, wrote on its Facebook page: 'How can this happen? Was a 12-year-old at the wheel?

The damage to the slow-growing hard corals is likely to take decades to fix, and the compensation fund will be used to assist with the rehabilitation of the reef, along with the possibility of installing buoys to prevent ships from sailing too close to the reef in future.

'Luxury megayachts pass through quite often.

The ship, named Caledonian Sky, is operated by Noble Caledonia, a British company.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has sent a team to examine the damage. This is just insane though'.

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.

Indonesia's government is to assess the damage caused to a West Papua reef system by a visiting cruise ship.

Victor Nikijuluw, the marine programme director at Conservational International Indonesia, told AFP: 'This is a very, very big loss for us'.

A spokesperson for Noble Caledonia, the ship's owner, stated that the company is "firmly committed to protection of the environment, which is why it is imperative that the reasons for it are fully investigated, understood and any lessons learned incorporated in operating procedures".

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. The ship became trapped in shallow waters.

'The vessel was relfloated on the next tide and was anchored safely nearby to allow a full assessment of the hull and machinery to be made.

Indonesia's government is assessing the damage to the Kri Island reef, with plans to seek compensation from the cruise company.

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 remote archipelago of Raja Ampat - which means Four Kingdoms in Indonesian - lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

  • Tracy Ferguson