Eden Rock coral smothered in boat incident

| 16/09/2020 | 51 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environment is calling on all experienced divers to help save coral at Eden Rock today, following a recent tug and ship encounter in the George Town Harbour, in which a large amount of sand from the seabed was churned up and deposited on live coral, blocking out the sun. The sand is so thick in some areas that the coral cannot self-clean and there is already evidence of coral mortality.

“DoE divers made an assessment of the area on Tuesday and determined that we need community assistance to help waft the sediment and uncover the coral,” the department researchers said in an appeal on social media.

Anyone who can help is asked to attend at the Eden Rock Dive Center at 2:00 Wednesday afternoon, where free dive tanks will be available for experienced divers who can help with the effort. People can join in the effort until 4:00pm and the DoE said that work may also be coordinated on Thursday if necessary.

With some four inches of sand on some of the coral heads, experts said it will die without direct intervention.

“It truly is a shocking amount of sand all over the place and will require the efforts of many caring people for us to mitigate the damage done by our careless port authority,” said Rory McDonough, a volunteer diver and local environmental activist, in a social media post.

For more information visit the DoE Facebook page here.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why bother worrying about it? It’s going to get smothered from building the cruise ship dock anyway isn’t it?

    Yes, I know the plans have “gone away” for now but there’s a reason why Alden doesn’t want to have the required referendum on the project…the government wants to be able to ram it down our throats at a later date unless the 5,000 signatures are collected all over again!

  2. Anonymous says:

    And they want to build a port look at this one accident and the death of a whole reef seeing it first hand I was at a lost for words and also shocked that no shipping company or person was fined for this

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello? Some people are stating that “Caymanians” are responsible for this latest act of reef destruction. Do they know this for sure? Who is the captain of the boat(s) involved?

    For all we know, seeing as how Caymanians have been largely displaced from the marine industry, the person responsible may actually be from somewhere else!!

    Haters, please lighten-up on your blanket bigotry against Caymanians as a whole!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not blaming Caymanians as a whole. Just the ones who continually find themselves in the papers screwing everything up and getting away with it because they play the Caymanian card. If you want to know if it was a Caymanian ask the Caymanians who are in charge of the Harbor, Boats, Captains, and policing the harbor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Anonymous 17/9 @ 6:24am – STOP generalizing and calling “Caymanians” haters and xenophobes, etc. Just like wherever you’re from, there are people with different opinions! By generalizing ALL Caymanians, you are showing your own bigotry, xenophobia and hate that you accuse us of!! Mindless POS!

    We are NOT all like you!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here folks. Just Caymanians killing a reef. Its their right as Caymanians and given their edumacation and culture its a given. They get a free pass. No enforcement, no naming, and definitely no You’re fired. Get used to it. It’s probably the same Caymanian Captain who dropped the anchor there a few years ago.Bummer that the cruise ships aren’t here to make them pay for it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Expat hurts a reef big problem, big fine, Caymanians in an uproar. Caymanians hurt a reef. Expats try to fix it. Caymanians silent. It will always be this way in the Cayman islands. The problem with Cayman is too many ignorant people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A big “Thank You” to all the dive community who always step up and try their best to address/mitigate these careless environmental occurrences to our reefs. Amazing dedication!

    On the other hand, I dis all MLA’s and Government Ministers, none of whom has yet to make a comment on this latest incident, that I’m aware. Shameful and disgusting!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tell me they are prosecuting the vessel that causes this environmental disaster.

    • Anonymous says:

      Were they even apprehended as they came shore and was there blood alcohol testing? How does the Harbour Master not know this is happening?!? It’s absolutely criminal to leave the props in gear running full thrust for an hour in a Mission Blue Hope spot, top snorkeling location, Cayman Islands marine park and not expect fallout. This person needs to be arrested for criminally negligent operation, and put on trial, and also anyone who is trying to cover it up or facilitating it going away. An example needs to be made.

      • Anonymous says:

        The only test was are they Caymanian? Then no problem. At worse case for him is a few years free paid vacation. Caymanians do not enforce laws on Caymanians. Part of the pirate culture. Expats will fix what they can.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you know a dock causes silt?? Oh wait…

  10. Anonymous says:

    I was at Eden Rock today with about 100+ other divers and concerned people. It was a great turnout from the dive community and to see the dive shops (Don F, SSH and Eden) pulling together to provide enough tanks was awesome.

    More to the point, we all saw first hand the devastation that building a port would cause to the island. If one tugboat incident can cause what I saw today, then dredging the harbour is a frightening prospect.

    A lot of the coral won’t survive today. We were farting against thunder but we all tried because we love our sport and love this island. It would have been nice to see one of our MLAs there to show some appreciation for the effort that was put in. Where were you????

    Lastly, a MASSIVE fist bump to Mario, Sergio and Lee for busting their asses to get enough tanks there for the volunteers. You truly are what epitomises the dive community. And I’ll be there tomorrow too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Where is the official comment, or statement of regret from the Premier or Port Portfolio Minister Kirkconflicted?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll give kudos to those that assisted and helped. You folks are amazing and I will continue to support you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish I could have assisted, many (500+) dives in the harbor. But I cannot visit/assist due to the CIG restrictions on “travelers”… I own a condo sitting empty. I can isolate for 14 days, I can contribute to the local economy with my food purchases, but I cannot come… How do you expect folks like me to assist?????????????

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m 8:14 above. I really would like to know how I can assist? Do Caymanians really want assistance, or not??? Do you want all expats to simply leave, sell-out, and go elsewhere?

        I’ve had a “low-cost” condo since 1987. I can sell and leave if that is the prevaling opinion. I’m in my 60’s+ so can reside in other locals.

        Question: Does Cayman want folks like me to invest in a condo? Or would Caymanians prefer folks like me to go elsewhere??

        • Anonymous says:

          Caymanians want you to invest (in their economy) but do not want you on the island with them. They hate expats,Gays, and themselves. If you can deal with that then come on back. The island is still nice.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you own Cayman Islands property, your property manager should have long-ago advised you that you are more than welcome to attend your property and reside for a longer spell than previously allowed!

          Caymankind certainly wants you here!

          Due to our Covid-suppression recreational visitor airport closure, the process is to apply to a government portal “Travel Time”, here:


          By October, home quarantining should ease hotel capacity congestion and allow for more inbound stakeholders with a stated purpose/connection to the Islands.

          The Cayman Islands will also be welcoming global citizens who would like to relocate to the Islands to work remotely for a period of time, enjoy our weather, and relative pre-COVID suppression freedoms, by way of superior suppression criteria and adaptive technology.

          Come for a dive!

        • Anonymous says:

          Genuinely you probably couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) afford what is available today anyway…
          But what makes you think that complaining on CNS in a comment, about the reef I might add, that will magically allow you to come down? I guarantee that anyone who may have the ability to make this possible is NOT reading any of these comments.
          It is historically not pro-government and they would never want to read anything negative about themselves.
          They think they have managed the situation exemplary.

      • T tibbs says:

        Stay home stay safe

      • philip says:

        starting from Oct 1st you can apply to come to the island if your a property owner and want to stay for a month or more, you will be required to wear a geofence bracelet and stay in your property for 14 days, then your free to do what you like, if you want to help from afar then perhaps support one of the many charities that are assisting those whom have lost their jobs because of COVID, we are all in this together.

      • Anonymous says:

        Come on down! You are categorized differently – as a committed stakeholder rather than a casual recreational tourist visitor. We want you. Although the international airport is closed, Cayman stakeholders are absolutely allowed to occupy their property, and apply to Travel Time for a travel spot. There’s a bit of a wait right now due to capacity limitation, which may ease with home quarantining in October. The Cayman Islands are a great place to ride this out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Moses wouldn’t be seen there. It would make it seem that he was Pro-Eden Rock and not Pro-cruiseport.

      Our MLA’s couldn’t care less as to what happens to our environment. If there was any money in it for them, every one of them would have been down there today..Shame on them!!

    • Anonymous says:

      FYI – 7:20p, it was not a tugboat that caused this. To be clear, this was a barge that was well overloaded, not a tug boat.
      It sat churning the water at high volume for almost 2 hours that I saw.
      A pilot boat (your tugboat) eventually came to try to assist. I had to stop watching. It made me sick to my stomach because I know what’s down there and the damage it must have been causing. I am surprised that it affected coral as far away as Eden Rock!
      This is a huge wakeup call to those that think we need a new dock in town. And that any damage done could be mitigated by skirting or bumpers.
      If a new dock needs to be built, it should be AWAY from GT at a completely different location. It would solve a LOT of problems but we will still get untold amounts of damage to the reefs wherever it is built.
      But yeah, get the port out of town.

  11. Anonymous says:

    How does this keep happening?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t even wish to criticize.

      So much of what our CIG has done has been worthless. Or, made matter worse.

      Issues like this in the port, with CIG hired officials is simply immoral (I thought of saying “Illegal” or “criminal, felonious; unlicensed, unauthorized, unsanctioned, warrantless; fraudulent, corrupt; outlawed, banned, forbidden), but I hesitated for being labeled an extremest… I plead guilty, I love my Cayman from 1980.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanian boat captains. Caymanian Government officials, Caymanian voters.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Precious gold. HA!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t Port Authority boats have to guide these ships in and out of the Harbour?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I saw this happening. It went on and on and on without getting it off. Churning and churning for more than an hour.
    Sickening how the island thinks so little of their natural and valuable resources. But only give a child rapist a 5 year sentence…

    • Anonymous says:

      Deliberate destruction of a Marine Park. Why wasn’t this captain cuffed as they stepped on shore?!?

  15. Anonymous says:

    They’re killing the coral now so when it’s time to build a cruise port they can say it’s already dead.

  16. Porter Plainte says:

    You CNS commenters are so unreasonable. Do you not understand that finding this tug boat in a body of water the size of Hog Sty Bay is like looking for the proverbial missing Tacoma truck? It could take years of searching.

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you talking about “finding a tug boat in a body of water the size of Hog Sty Bay”???

      It was NOT a tug boat that was stuck dingdong. It was a large container/barge loaded down. Most likely overloaded. A tug boat/pilot boat eventually came to assist but it was there churning up the water for well over 2 hours.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Despite the reality that the boat owner or operator should be ultimately responsible, what are the factors within the Port Authority which contribute to these repeated incidents – ships tearing up reefs, dumping sand, etc.?

    Somehow the oversight of piloting and anchoring ships in the harbour, and the protocols thereafter, which are the PA’s responsibilities, is questionable at least or severely lacking at worst!

    Accountability all around!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    An explanantion of what we would be doing would be nice! Are we getting a dust pan and brush???????

  19. Anonymous says:

    No one will be fined too well connected. The owners should have to personally clean it up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly…same as when Paul Allen’s boat dragged its anchor….come on CIG…a little consistency would help rid us of perception of being backward 3rd world financial pirates.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry- can you clarify what you mean re Paul Allen’s boat and consistency? That boat owner ultimately paid a fine and it was used in part to create a large yacht mooring buoy in that area of the beach.

  20. $$$>Environment says:

    No mention of who did this, no oversight and most likely no penalty. DOE are powerless. Must be some big names involved and news media have been gagged and or threatened if names are named.

  21. Oro Verde says:

    Well Mr Roper I wish you would show the same level of enthusiasm for the damage being done to our environment as you have shown with other topical issues? but that would probably complicate the good governance model you currently have in place with this rinky dink government.Truly sad at level of destruction in Cayman being perpetrated by the chosen few!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m vacationing on the Brac..leave me alone.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where is the rule of law? Oh, just a ship tearing up the environment…nothing to involve the governor here. Breaking the law for destroying the environment doesn’t rise high enough for him to blink at it..

  22. Anonymous says:

    And are the boats owners fined???

  23. Anonymous says:

    Lets march in town, see if that helps.

  24. Anonymous says:

    wonder how people will blame this on the cruise industry???/

    • Anonymous says:

      Did anyone blame the cruise industry for Paul Allens yacht dropping anchor on our coral? NO! We can be mutually pissed off at all boats that ruin our precious gold.

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