TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government is seeking Rp6 trillion in damages from UK-based tourism operator Noble Caledonia for the destruction of coral reef and ecosystems in the Raja Ampat waters. The Environment and Forestry Ministry calculates that the operator’s cruise ship Caledonia Sky has destroyed around 13,270 square meters coral reef zone.
Motor vessel (MV) Caledonia Sky on March 4 crashed into coral reefs in Raja Ampat. The government claims that the incident has left 18,882 square meters of marine ecosystems damaged, some 13,270 square meters of which were completely destroyed.
Noble Caledonia had said it will pay the damages for its negligence. However, it has passed on the responsibility to insurance company SPICA. The government and SPICA later calculated their respective account of the damages.
An official familiar with the negotiation said that there was a huge gap between the amount of damages set by SPICA and that of the government. The source said that the government is seeking Rp6 trillion in damages from Noble Caledonia, whereas SPICA came out with a much lower amount. “That’s why Indonesia and SPICA have yet to reach a deal over the amount of damages,” the source said.
Environment Ministry Pollution and Coastal Degradation Management Director Heru Waluyo said that the negotiation can take some time to settle. He said that the government will not reduce the amount of damages and will reject SPICA’s damage calculation claim.
“If it refuses to pay, we may refer [the case] to the international tribunal,” Heru said.
Heru said that the government based its calculation on four components to damages: ecosystem, economy and society, ecosystem rehabilitation costs and damage claim costs.
Maya Tribe chief Kristian Thebu noted that the Raja Ampat tribe has been affected by the ecosystem damage. According to him, the indigenous people are very protective of the ecosystem, including by setting up the time and location of fishing. “The location is a Sasi [traditional conservation system]. It must be restored,” Kristian said.
HUSSEIN ABRI | FRANSISCO ROSARIANS