Cruise line coughs up $100k for reef damage

| 03/03/2015 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Government officials have now confirmed that talks with Carnival Cruise Line has resulted in a payment of $100,000 to the Cayman Islands National Trust towards the Magic Reef Restoration Project. Carnival has not, however, admitted any liability regarding the damage that one of its cruise ships caused when it dropped anchor in the wrong place in George Town Harbour last August.

Cayman News Service

A cruise ship anchor severely damaged the coral reef off Grand Cayman in August 2014

The cruise line has pointed the finger at the Port Authority-licensed pilot who guided the Carnival Magic to drop anchor outside of the designated anchorage zone. Bodden Shipping, the agency that the pilot worked for, has remained silent on the issue. Neither the Port Authority, which contracts the shipping agents, nor Bodden Shipping have accepted any responsibility or made any public announcements regarding what contributions, if any, they will be making.

As a government agency, the Port Authority is in a difficult position but, like Carnival, it has denied culpability, and at the time of the incident port officials also blamed the Bodden Shipping pilot. More than 11,000 sqft of endangered coral reef was crushed by the anchor and experts have indicated that the reef will take decades and decades to recover.

The $100,000 cash donation from Carnival is understood to represent a first payment and there could be much more to come in the near future.

“The fact that Carnival is supporting the Department of the Environment and the volunteer partners on this restoration project demonstrates their appreciation of Cayman’s valuable marine environment and the need to protect and maintain it,” said Environment Minister Wayne Panton. “The ministry thanks Carnival for this initial donation and we welcome their continuing partnership with us on this critical restoration work.”

In a press release from Carnival, Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, noted the importance of this jurisdiction to their port of calls.

“When you consider that coral reefs cover less than 0.2 per cent of the ocean floor, we understand the paramount importance of preserving and protecting them,” Duffy said. “Grand Cayman is one of our guests’ favourite destinations and, as Grand Cayman’s longest-standing cruise partner and the company bringing the most guests there each year, we are very pleased to pledge this contribution in support of the ongoing coral reef restoration efforts.”

Since August the restoration work has been undertaken by volunteers in conjunction with the DoE and the National Trust. Watersports operators have provide boats and tanks for volunteer divers and costs have been covered by fundraising efforts.

The $100,000 is a welcome contribution to a very long term recovery effort, although the funds needed is expected to far exceed that amount.

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, who met with Carnival Cruise Line executives in February, commended the cruise line for its willingness to collaborate in the conservation project.

“The Cayman Islands Government is appreciative of this gesture, which has been provided in good faith by a most valued tourism partner. This initial pledge to provide funding will assist the important work being undertaken on the reef, which is largely a community effort by teams of dedicated volunteers, whose primary motivation is to conserve our islands’ spectacular marine environment,” he said.

“I am pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Line as a partner in this important initiative and provide the assurance that this and all subsequent donations from Carnival will solely be used to support the George Town Reef Restoration Effort,” he added.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Seems to be a cheap fine for the slave ships to have to pay.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What steps have been taken in respect of those responsible for this terrible error? Or is the PPM just covering up one of its own?

    • Sharkey says:

      What did Mr Moses tell the cruise line, you drift wood better come up with the money or you can’t come back to Cayman , but he can’t tell the other two that are more responsible . Shame on them for causing the destruction to the marine environment of their own country and not giving a dam . In my opinion the Port authority is the boss, and the pilot is the employee, and the cruise line is the guest . If my boss instructed me to do something that I new was wrong and would put me and my guest in danger, I would have at least told my boss , I know it’s wrong and dangerous.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone say “time for a dock?”

    Also, in the vast majority of locations (Georgetown included), a “pilot” is nothing more than a revenue and jobs program. Most of these ships are technologically capable of piloting themselves. They mostly just step aboard, walk to the bridge, grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut, then wait for time to leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      Im going to disagree somewhat with your assessment im afraid. A ship’s bridge is a technology dependant location, able to stay in the same position through the use of Dynamic Positioning and incoming GPS positions being fed into the DP system. However, and this has happened to me on several ocasions, if a GPS receiver has an error, loss of satelite signal due to an internal or eternal error, or more often nowdays, spoofing, this can and does lead to problems. With everything linked in, the GPS feed to the Autopilot has caused a sharp alteration to one side. Like all technology, when it works its great. When it doesnt its awful – see MSC Opera in Venice as the most recent example.
      A coffee and doughnut may well be the thing on a double watch bridge but with a smaller ship on a single watch system a coffee is the best you can get. Doughnut not included. Then its four hours of monitoring tendering operations, fire alarms, weather, position, other ships and in many cases – my ship included – you have to manually maintain position using thrusters and engines.
      A dock would be a welcome thing for me but i doubt it would be ideal for Cayman. I want to see a design before i say yes or no. A larger cargo pier however could well be a boon as it might lower import costs which could be passed onto the community at large.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There should be no more wondering about how much the Caymanian government cares about the environment of its own island. Or taking responsibility for that matter. Not even a little bit. I bet all the cruise companies are no longer happy about a Caymanian Harbor pilot being in control of its ships.

  5. Anonymous says:

    While I do agree this wasn’t Carnival’s fault, I don’t think Carnival cares about the environment at all. If they really cared so much, they wouldn’t pump millions of gallons of raw or poorly treated sewage into the sea very year!

    • Anonymous says:

      Shipping is governed by the International Maritime Organisation – a branch of the UN. The Maritime Pollution Regulations are called MARPOL which have been in force since 1983. They are constantly improving. One of the ‘Annexes’ deals with Sewage and the requirements for discharge. Annex IV Regulation 11 says that you can discharge raw sewage outside 12 miles (International Waters) and treated sewage up to 3 miles.
      A local jurisdiction can enforce more strict rules.
      These rules are enforcable by Port State Inspections carried out whenever a ship comes into a port. Failure to comply with these AND local regulations lands people in prison or with fines. One of the Carnival Captains (Princess cruises brand i think it was) is currently on trial in France for a fuel violation found during a Port State Control inspection.
      Back on topic. If you drop anchor in the wrong place Port control will tell you to move. If Port Control designated the anchorage specifically and a ship drops anchor outside then this is between Port Control and the Pilot (generally required for any ship over 500 Gross Registered Tonnes (GRT)).
      Basically here the problem will have been the Pilot. HOWEVER the Master of any ship is perpetually responsible while he is Captain, for anything and everything that happens onboard. Ergo, this anchoring will have been his problem and therefore the company’s – hence the donation.
      That said, the Pilot must also be to blame as he provides the ‘local knowledge’ required to bring a vessel safely into port (see ‘Cosco Busan’, 2008, San Francisco Bridge collision).

  6. Anonymous says:

    I just hope 100% of this has really gone directly into the restoration project and none of it is going to CIG or other interested parties to stave off any potential litigation.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So not ranting at those involved has actually yielded some results. Such a better way to conduct oneself. Thanks to the Government members responsible. I trust that discussions are still ongoing with the emploer of the pilot to get them to accept some responsibility and provide financial assistance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is sad that the none of the Cayman Entities involved jumped to donate to such a worthy cause.

    • Philis says:

      errr, you do know how many companies have volunteered their time to try and salvage the damage right???

      • Anonymous says:

        I think they meant the companies involved in the destruction not the companies involved in the restoration.

    • Anonymous says:

      The local community including every single volunteer, Sunset House, Red Sail Sports, Divetech, Off the wall Divers, Don Fosters, Foster Food Fair, Flowers Block to many many many more have graciously contributed to this ongoing effort. For you to state that no local entities have jumped to donate to such a worthy cause is completely misguided. Maybe you have not been aware of the contributions that have been ongoing be it tanks of air, use of boats, large bags to place rubble in, lift bags to move large pieces, but there has been an outpouring of support from the local community, and until now none of the responsible parties have stepped forward. Thank you Carnival although the funds donated are only a start and will likely only garner about 2 months of full time boat rental, air rental and to pay divers to do 4 dives a day, 5 days a week. Please rethink your statement and if possible direct it at the responsible parties to this devastation, not the local community as a whole..

      • Anonymous says:

        Come on,don’t get your undies in a bunch;I believe they were referring to “Cayman entities involved’ in the destruction of the reef.

      • Anonymous says:

        “and until now none of the responsible parties have stepped forward.”

        Forgive me for the misunderstanding but the above explains perfectly what i meant to say. I know lots of people have donated time and other materials to help which is amazing. It makes Cayman look bad that the cruise line not responsible for the damage donated cash and Bodden shipping did nothing. They should be ashamed.

    • Garfield says:

      All of the owners and managers of Bodden Shipping should be forced to take courses on corporate social responsibility. Their response or total lack of a response on this issue is disgraceful.

  9. Shore Diver says:

    The financial help being offered by Carnival was not ordered by any court and will deservedly gain them many friends. It is my belief that the Port Authority’s pilot was the person at fault for the destruction of the coral, and I’m wondering if some action has been taken to sue for damages. If not, why not? They surely must have insurance to cover any damages rising from their actions. How about it, CNS…… can we have some answers on this?

    • Anonymous says:

      The answer is that CIG will do lip service to laws and rules and that’s it. Trying to make the Caymanian government do the right and lawful thing is an exercise in futility. Just read the headlines from the last ten years.

      • Anonymous says:

        CIG does lip service to the big boys they fear, but hastily charge the small Caymanian people that cant defend themselves.This is pure prejudice!!

    • Clear As Mud says:

      I believe that if you and CNS check with the Port Authority you will find that the pilot is not licensed by, or employed by, or contracted by the Port Authority. They are employed by Bodden Shipping, the agent of the cruise lines.

    • Anonymous says:

      They should have insurance, but if they do, their insurers will have already been notified about this potential liability. Moreover, their insurers will also have control of any actions taken. The circumstances in which a profitable company sensitive to environmental criticism will donate to a cause to which it contributed are different to those in which an insurance firm, which is not concerned with its reputation, will agree to pay. Bodden Shipping could be having a dispute with its insurers or its insurers could be conducting their own investigation or obtaining legal advice, or even negotiating with their reinsurers. Lots of things could be happening behind the scenes. The possibility of a future contribution from other parties including Bodden Shipping is very much there.

  10. Driftwood says:

    And the pilots? Presume they have some kind of Liability insurance? Man up and fess up..ultimately the pilot is responsible. They should have at least $1m coverage, so why is government not suing? Wheels within wheels? Lipservice as to how important it is unless our buddies have to pay up or, dare I say it, they might be another lodge member?? Time to get real Cayman, the lodges have no place in an open and transparent society-they mostly died out elsewhere…I have had more funny handshakes here than I have had hot dinners

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, if you go up against a Lodge Member it is as though you go up against the entire Lodge and all of it’s Members. My dogs were shot by a Lodge Member, one lived and has pellets in her body that she has to live with, the other God Bless her, died. The Police would not investigate, and they would not go to the Vet to pick up the bullets, even though the Vet called them numerous times to come and pick up the pellets (that they took out of my dog that died). I even went to the Police Station in person and could not get any help to investigate the incident. Lodge anyone???

      I don’t even know how it can be legal for a Secret Society to be legal in Society??

      They could be doing illegal things inside of the Lodge and it is all “Secret” and legal by the Law of the Courts of the Cayman Islands to be “Secret”. It makes absolutely no sense that this one entity called The Lodge can do as they please even if it illegal things that they are doing. What’s the difference if a Secret Gang deals drugs? Why are they not given the rights to have this as “Secret” also just like the Lodge can do their secret things and be protected by Law.

      Who knows what the Lodge does in “Secret”? After all, it’s legal for them to do whatever they want in “Secret”.

      It makes no sense.

      It is Evil, Satanic and of the Devil. Period.

      The Lodge Club needs to be eradicated from the Cayman Islands.

      In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may the Lodge Club be eradicated forever and ever from the Cayman Islands, Amen!

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess they are not too good at keeping their activities secret ,since you appear to know their secrets.In fact ,you even know some of members of this so called secret society including the one that shot your dogs,and some at the police station who did not investigate the dog shootings.

      • Anonymous says:

        I know some friends who would rather attend lodge meetings and pass up an opportunity to pull themselves out of their financial mess….they are deep in debt!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess a lot of people think you are into funny handshakes ,thus the reason for you getting so many.I have been here over 50years and have not received one.

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