Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan will summon the ambassador of the UK, Thursday, in connection with the destruction of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Papua, by British cruise ship MV Caledonian Sky.

"Tomorrow, I will summon him," he stated at his office here on Wednesday.

The former chief minister for political, security, and legal affairs said a regulation in place in the Great Britain stipulates that strong administrative sanctions can be imposed on a seaman or ship's captain found conducting violations that caused destruction in the sea.

Panjaitan remarked that he will also send a team to investigate the destruction caused by the Bahamas-flagged ship.

The Indonesian government has formed a joint team with officials from his office, the environment minister's office, the transportation ministry, the tourism ministry, the ministry of justice and human rights, the Attorney General's Office, the police, and local governments in connection with the incident.

"We will send the team there tomorrow. Officials from other ministries have also been sent there," he pointed out.

Panjaitan stated that his office will investigate how a 90-meter-long cruise ship of 4,200 gross tonnage was allowed to sail in the area.

The ship has caused destruction in "the heart" of Raja Ampat and damaged the exotic coral reefs.

"It was said that the ship carrying tourists had entered the area several times. It should have been prohibited. Investigation must be conducted to unearth how the ship was allowed to sail in that area during low tide," he noted.

Panjaitan remarked that his office will review the existing regulations that might have lead to the incident.

"This should serve as a lesson. We will conduct a thorough investigation to prevent recurrence of a similar incident in future," he emphasized.

Arif Havas Oegroseno, the first deputy for maritime sovereignty, has expressed willingness to cooperate with the foreign ministry to deal with the destruction.

Although MV Caledonian Sky is a cruise ship belonging to a British company, but based on the international law, the country, whose flag was flown on the ship in question, must be held responsible.

"The ship carried the flag of the Bahamas. According to the international law, the country, whose flag the ship is bearing, is held responsible. The company that operates it may be from another country," he explained.

Oegroseno said he has communicated with the foreign ministry on efforts to be taken to settle the case, including seeking help from the Great Britain.

Oegroseno said Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with the Bahamas, which is a British Commonwealth member country in the Caribbean.

"In the morning, just now, I met with friends from the foreign ministry, as we have no representative in the Bahamas. We also do not have an embassy there," he revealed.

As the problem is linked to navigation safety, the Indonesian government will also cooperate with the International Maritime Organization in dealing with the incident.

Editor: Ade P Marboen
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