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Relief for the Reef

Pressure Grows for Compensation and Criminal Charges Against Captain of Caledonia Sky that Damaged Reef at Raja Ampat

(7/16/2017) The State News Agency Antara reports the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs has provided scant details of efforts to settle a claim against the cruise ship MV Caledonia Sky that caused massive damage to the coral reef at Raja Ampat in Western Papua on March 4, 2017.

The Commission of the National Committee for Human Rights, Natalius Pigai, said on Monday, July 10, 2017, his office has yet to received an update on efforts between the Indonesian Government and the Cruise Company to reach an agreement on compensation for damages.

Pigai said his office is seeking transparency in any explanation on any settlement being discussed with Nobel Caledonia, adding that local residents in West Papua are demanding to be fully informed in any settlement as the damage to the reef caused by the ship that affected both the natural environment and the local economy.

Pigai said: “The traditional communities in West Papua last week requested a report on any compensation to be paid. We summoned Pak Luhut, the Maritime Minister. But because the Minister was at the House of Representatives (DPR), his deputy for Maritime Sovereignty Arif Havasa Oegroseno came.”

Pigau said that he has been informed that the Government and the Ship’s insurers have appointed the University of Indonesia and the Bogor Agricultural Institute to undertake a review. The ongoing study is examining damage to the biodiversity of the surrounding seas, damage to the local public and private economy, and the cost of restoring the damaged reef.

Pigau refused to disclose the amount of settlement being discussed but did disclose that the amount of settlement was now actively being debated. He expects a settlement to be agreed in the coming two to three months, failing which the Government will seek a settlement through the judicial process.

When the MV Caledonian Sky ran aground at Raja Ampat on March 4, 2017, it destroyed 18,882 square meters of coral reef. Surveyors determined that 13,270 square meters were totally obliterated in the incident with the remaining 5,612 square suffered a considerable degree of destruction. Experts believe that 50% of the 5,612 square meters that suffered substantial damage will eventually die.

The Indonesian Government is seeking compensation from the ship operator and its insurers for the damage caused by the ship and has declared its desire to also seek criminal negligence charges against the Ship’s Master Keith Michael Taylor.

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