Small Ship Cruising
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U P D A T E
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CRUISE VESSEL GROUNDING ASSESSED
Small cruise ship specialists Noble Caledonia report that one of their expedition vessels, MS Caledonian Sky, grounded on a section of a reef known locally as Crossover Reef (exact coordinates 00 33.027 s 30 40.673 E), in a section of the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia on 4 March, and was refloated on the next high tide.
The ship grounded just after high water at 1241 and it was decided to try and refloat her on the next high water which was due at 2230 the same day. A local tug, as suggested by the Indonesian Search & Rescue Authority and agreed by the local Harbour Master, was used in initial attempts to refloat the vessel as she started to move with the incoming tide at 2120. However the use of the tug was quickly recognised as ineffective thus it was let go and the vessel refloated herself on the rising tide – she was confirmed afloat at 2235 (all times local).
We are working with local experts to understand how we can assist with the regeneration of the reef. We value our relationships around the world with local people and we are sorry to have impacted the local community. To this end Noble Caledonia has established a fund with the aim of helping the local population and contributing to the repair of the reef. We would like to send our own Expedition teams to help with the regeneration.
Separately, we are fully insured and our insurers are currently working in conjunction with the Indonesian Government and a local reef assessment expert. The assessment of the reef took place from the 19th to 21st March and further meetings have been scheduled by the Indonesian government to occur at the beginning of April where we shall together work towards a fair and realistic settlement.
As a company we are very upset that this incident has led to the damage to this reef. We are one of the leading expedition cruise companies which specialises in expedition tours to remote locations such as this, in addition to which we take protection of the environment very seriously indeed.
The Master on duty at the time, but who has since been relieved of command pending the outcome of the various investigations, is one of the world’s leading expedition Captains. He has many years-experience of working on such operations. Noble Caledonia has over 25 years-experience in the provision of this type of tour, which up to the date of this incident, was without incident.
We immediately recognised that our actions caused this incident. We now need to establish precisely how we can assist local operators and authorities to finance and work towards a regeneration of this vital reef.
Noble Caledonia Managing Director Tim Cochrane again apologised for the incident and thanked local officials and operators for their assistance in dealing with it.
Updated 27 March 2017