DoE works on reef damaged by boat at Eden Rock

| 04/08/2022 | 31 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Divers from the Department of Environment Marine Unit are working to re-attach damaged corals to the reef at Eden Rock following a recent unreported grounding by a large ship at the popular dive site. The damage was reported by local environmental activist Rory McDonough, who contacted the DoE, the premier and the port authority after he saw the devastating damage and what he said was the “consistent disregard and lack of accountability” for this type of incident.

When the DoE followed up and sent divers to the site, they found several chunks of coral torn from the reef, which they managed to put back up and begin the process of re-attaching them to the reef to protect them from further damage.

The DoE said the “disheartening incident” happened as the department prepares for a four-day conference of coral scientists and members of the working group on Coral Conservation in the Overseas Territories (CCOT), who will be arriving next week. A ‘Coral Fest‘ is also planned for next Wednesday.

“Corals are living animals that will die if left upside down and detached from the reef,” DoE Senior Research Officer Dr Croy McCoy explained. “Since some species of coral grow only one centimetre per year, it can take many years to recover from an incident like this. As our team fights the daily battle against SCTLD (Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease), it saddens us to put our resources and time towards another threat that can be so easily avoided by using safe boating practices, such as heeding the markers and using the public moorings.”

McCoy added, “Damaging or even touching corals is illegal. The event in question is under investigation but unfortunately, in this incident, no one spotted the boat at the time, so we have no witnesses and no one to prosecute.”

Cayman’s battle to protect its coral is constant, and the Coral Fest next week aims to raise awareness about the mounting threats, despite the conservation efforts made over the years. The focus will be on SCTLD, the aggressive disease devastating coral ecosystems in the northern Caribbean, which has spread all around Grand Cayman.

The DoE is working hard to slow down its impact, with a team of divers doing the painstaking work of applying an antibiotic paste directly onto the corals by hand.

See video of the damage by Rory McDonough below:


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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t port authority have cctv coverage of the gt harbour ?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Even if you know who ran into the reef, it still going to happen. Paying a fine is not going to stop hitting Reefs in George Town. These are ships not a dinghy. Wind can change, engines can stop, anchors can only stop a ship depending on the bottom, there are many things that can go wrong. We have had experienced Captains from around the world who have hit all three islands for hundreds of years. Cayman brac maintains channel markers including lights that lets Captains of smaller boats to navigate the channels in nighttime conditions.
    You all thinking about the way you drive vehicles its not the same. If you were here after hurricane Ivan, when the lights were out, you know. But remember you still had driven hundreds of times that same road. When you drive the road you got your high beams on.
    How many car accidents have there been? The majority of those accidents were usually the younger drivers. They had head lights.
    One thing that could help Sea Captains is light on shallow reefs blinking.

  3. Anonymous says:

    if you want healthy reefs…ban the dive industry.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Laughable…!!!

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    • Kmatrix says:

      Sorry to say but ina all got it ass backwards. Whether it be cargo, cruise or whatever type of deep draft vessel we need monitoring. The whole bunch of bay sayers on this post are nothing but a bunch of critics with no experience of maritime operations or just no good no nothing I’djust.

      What’s wrong with Port Authority monitoring the arrival of ships and having someone direct them from shore or by being in the water providing guidance to mooring and having a watchful eye on where and how the ships are anchored.

      There is too much darn criticism of pertinent matters to our islands by Johnny come latelys who are just mischievous robbing their employers valuable time while posting Caca on this site. Listen I’ve been saying it and it gonna happen soon ona keep disrespecting us and ya get ya moths stuffed with a big fist of course . Keep it up ya hear hmmm.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see Kenny crying over the damage done by his cruise ships, like he cries when people don’t pay their mortgage

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Until we accept the facts that a country needs ships to bring freight, cargo of different kinds. We will always have ships that will hit the eden rock reefs.
    Why can we not see a cargo dock will be built in the near future. We just have to accept it . If you build it in town it will safer and cheaper. The west side has more days where ships can offload in calm seas in good weather. If we build it anywhere else it will cost more.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing in the cruise port plan would have reduced the risks to Eden Rock.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cargo ships have been coming here since Jesus was a baby. How many of them have run aground at Eden Rock? Bad and irresponsible Captains cause the damage and the Port Authority needs to be more responsible in ensuring that these ships are properly fined for operating outside the area set aside for them..

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    • Anonymous says:

      I can count on one hand how many freighters have been piloted in and out of our harbour and crashed on a known and marked reef. Most of them have happened in the last 10 years. This one, clearly was criminally non-reported and there should not only be an investigation and fines, but those covering this up on the CI Port-side need to be rooted out and fired, maybe also charged.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Police should be pulling the CI Port records, pilot logs, and video. If there aren’t controls on comings and goings, we’ll need to clean out the CI Port leadership and Board. If they don’t think coral matters, they are in the wrong occupation. PACT need to take a leadership role in seeking out the vessel and fining them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The vessels potentially concerned would likely all have transponders. There will also be visible damage to its hull, albeit below the water line. If the ship cannot be identified and its master not prosecuted, it would appear to be primarily for a single reason: #Leggewasright.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sheesh, think a little please. Unless you have underwater pictures of the boat before arriving there is no way you could say a ‘specific area of damage’ had occurred in Cayman. Have you ever seen what boat hulls look like?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sure – but take the damage, and the paint flakes on the coral, and the cctv footage, and the phone and radio logs with port authority, and the CI$500,000 fine for damaging coral in a marine park, and the inherent penalties for a hit and run, negligent operation of a vessel, and failure to report to insurers and there is some prospect of this important little thing called accountability.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Transponder records for all ships that had come and gone in preceding month can be pulled by a rookie armchair investigator to narrow the suspect list. The reef is marked, it’s on the charts, it’s not moving around, the pilot master knows about it, everybody arriving in GT Port with a Captain’s license would know about it, even the vessel owners, and their insurers. There are port controller staff, loading teams, and cams everywhere.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It can only be extreme laziness and possibly criminal collusion that keeps the public from knowing the name of this ship, the Captain’s identity, who was on duty at CI Port, who the Caymanian pilot master was, etc etc.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Another one for the ombudsman – or straight to the Anti Corruption commission?

          The lack of enforcement or even any overt action by our robust law enforcers is shocking.

          Getting popcorn…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Coast Guard not police anymore.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ah, the Civil Service. All pointing fingers of blame at one another, with no one accomplishing anything.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Somebody somewhere knows who is responsible.

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