A cruise ship should also use a local guide during its trip in Raja Ampat, or they will be sanctioned
Waisai, W Papua (ANTARA) - The Raja Ampat District administration in West Papua will reduce the number of liveaboard boats operating in the waters to safeguard coral reefs in the area.

The district's secretary, Yusuf Salim, noted here on Wednesday that the high cruise ship activities in the waters had damaged coral reefs.

He stated that several liveaboard boats had flouted rules and rammed into a coral reef in the waters.

Located in the West Papua region of the coral triangle, Raja Ampat has the highest identified concentration and diversity of marine life globally.

It has also become Indonesia's top liveaboard diving destination.

ANTARA recorded that during the period from December 2019 to January 2020, a foreign cruise ship and two Indonesian-flagged ships had hit the coral reef in the resort area of Raja Ampat.

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In December 2019, the foreign cruise ship Aqua Blu ran aground and hit the coral reef in the National Marine Conservation Area of Wayag Island.

An Indonesian ship carrying foreign tourist also ran aground in January and damaged the coral reef in Banos Misool Island, Raja Ampat.

In 2017, the 90-meter-long Caledonian Sky, owned by tour operator Noble Caledonia, ran aground at low tide on a shoal at the Crossover Reef dive site there. Nearly 19 thousand square meters of pristine reef were damaged in the accident.

Salim stated that the government will take stern measures and those failing to adhere to the rules will not be allowed to extend their license.

The waters have been overcrowded with 108 cruise ships operated in Raja Ampat.

The government has held meetings with all stakeholders, including the ship owners, over the issue.

"A cruise ship should also use a local guide during its trip in Raja Ampat, or they will be sanctioned," he added. Related news: Misool's Kajang boat race expected to draw more foreign tourists

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Translator: Ernes BK, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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