Billionaire reef repair offer under review

| 11/02/2016 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service

MV Tatoosh

(CNS): Computer software billionaire, Paul Allen, has reportedly “taken steps to develop a remediation plan to restore the reef” after one of his luxury yachts caused significant damage to coral off the coast of Seven Mile Beach last month. His company, Vulcan Inc, said in a statement that it was willing to play its part “in quickly implementing that plan”. So far, the Department of Environment has not confirmed if the offer is appropriate and CNS understands that they are still investigating the situation and discussions with the crew of the MV Tatoosh continue.

Vulcan said the co-founder of Microsoft and wealthy philanthropist has a long history of commitment to improving the health and preservation of our oceans and marine life and on learning of the damage, the crew took immediate steps to move the boat. Pointing to Allen’s conservation efforts, his firm said that because of that commitment, the damage to the reef “resonates particularly deeply” and swift action was being taken.

“We took this step even though extensive past and recent damage to this same reef, as a result of other incidents, makes it difficult to determine what, if any, actual damage was caused by the Tatoosh,” Vulcan stated. “Mr Allen and Vulcan retained experts in coral restoration to assess the situation and provide assistance to the government, and last week proposed a remediation plan to the Department of Environment.  Mr Allen and Vulcan asked the Department to consider the plan on an expedited basis and have continued to offer the services of the experts to consult and work with the Department.”

The DoE however said it was unable to comment on the plan at this point as the investigation was ongoing,

No details of the offer from Allen’s firm have been revealed but it is understood that around 80% of the coral in the area where the luxury 300-foot yacht was anchored was damaged. Vulcan claims that they were directed to the location by the Port Authority and took swift action when they realized they were anchoring in live coral.

“When its crew was alerted by a private diver that her anchor chain may have impacted coral in the area, the crew promptly, and on their own accord, relocated their position to ensure the reef was protected. Since that time, the crew and Vulcan representatives have worked cooperatively with the Cayman Island Department of the Environment and other local agencies during the course of their review of the incident,” the Vulcan spokesperson said. “Paul G. Allen and Vulcan believe the most important action now is a rapid review of the remediation plan by local officials and the restoration of the reef.  Time is of the essence, and we stand ready to begin playing our part in quickly implementing that plan,” the company stated.

The story has circulated worldwide as Allen, Bill Gates’ one time partner, prefers to be known for the conservation and preservation of oceans and marine life, not damaging it. The firm said Allen had developed programmes and invested in solutions that protect and regenerate declining coral reefs.

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Category: Marine Environment

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And you as a Captain of a vessel realises after your anchored your drifting, shouldn’t you as the responsible entity inform port authority and relocate to prevent damage to your vessel and the sea bed? It Isn’t rocket science.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does the Port Authority which tells the ships exactly where to anchor take any responsibility or accountability for this reef damage? It isn’t brain surgery. The Port Authority gives coordinates to the ship exactly where to anchor and the ship anchors at that location. If the ship anchors somewhere else they are responsible if the Port Authority gives the wrong location they are responsible.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is wrong with all you Port and DOE bashers? Just because a guy is rich and can afford a large yacht doesn’t absolve him or his crew of their responsibilities. Yes, Port Authority probably gave him an anchor site but it is still the crew and captain’s responsibility to watch the weather and the boat’s actions and take any steps necessary to ensure there is no damage done to the vessel or the environment. By your illogical reasoning as soon as the Port Authority gave them a position to anchor at, they were no longer responsible for their vessel. What? What captain is not responsible for their ship?
      By your reasoning, if the storm were bad enough to wreck the ship, it would have been Port Authority’s fault, not the Captain or crew on board the vessel who did nothing to save it. What hogwash!

    • Rp says:

      No! It’s never our gov or gov authorities fault it’s always someone else’s. That’s our culture unfortunately. The following are also not our gov fault:

      1) poor education of our people
      2) unemployment policies hold no one accountable especially the Caymanian businesses, Caymanian unemployed, Caymanian agencies
      3) immigration policies
      4) crime
      5) environment policies and the dump
      6) high price of energy
      7) poor fiscal policies and financial reporting
      8) corruption
      9) enforcement of all laws

      It’s the expat, the U.K., the governor or anyone else other than our own. In absence of us learning to accept responsibility for our own shortcomings, we must blame someone else for our failures.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When is the person involved in the first incident going to be charged or fired? Or is it just filed under another cowardly cover-up of local misconduct?

  4. Soldier Crab says:

    Anonymous at 3.48 obviously knows nothing about how ships operate!

    Having the gate security guard telling ships where to anchor is ridiculous, but that’s how it works at the Port Authority.

  5. Anonymous says:

    An admirable offer by Mr. Allen . But how difficult would it have been for the Captain/ crew to have put a spot-diver in the water to guide them, in an unknown anchorage ? I fail to see how it is entirely the Port Authorities fault here. The vessel in question is no doubt worth about $60,000,000.00 , would a competent Captain take the time to have a crewman do a visible sighting of the anchorage? Given the boats worth and a simple check of the bottom to insure they were both not anchoring in coral , nor risk grounding the vessel in unknown waters ? Does this vessel’s crew do this in other locations , simply drop anchor without checking ? In addition , this particular vessel has been to Grand Cayman on numerous other visits. Perhaps Mr. Allen needs to have a sit down chat with his Captain…..

    • SSM345 says:

      They anchored during a Nor’Westa…….

      • Anonymous says:

        Then they are even MORE stupid.

        Don’t you think this behemoth could have ridden out a Nor’wester, before they to guess where to anchor??


      • Anonymous says:

        Why anchor in a Nor’ Wester at this location? Captain should have known to run to the south side. Vessel has been to Cayman on numerous occasions . I note the vessel was holding station off Spott’s on the weekend of Friday January 29th- Saturday 30th .

    • Anonymous says:

      How about, just this once, cayman government take a teeny tiny bit of Responsability for their Mis-step. You should hold Mr Allen as a role model of what to do in a situation like this, not try to divert blame and hide under your traditional rock.

    • Anonymous says:

      At least Mr. Allen has been a long time visitor and friend to Cayman. Unlike the other who is a freebie loving publicity hungry billionaire who comes here to be stroked by social selfie clicking wannabes .

  6. Anonymous says:

    he shoudn’t have to pay a penny for typical cig/civil service incompetence….

    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorance at its best. Why allow anchors to be dropped too close to reef/coral when you know the length of the yatch and should allow enough room for swing and drift away from causing damage to protected areas.
      Please educate simpletons.

      • Anonymous says:

        Um, seems like the port Athority should have a small amount of expertise in that area. Or could it be they don’t really care mon?

        • Anonymous says:

          The port authority owes him an unequivocal apology. The man has done nothing but follow port authority direction, and now faces adverse international press. The port authority should set the record straight!

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