Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has collected evidence on damage to coral reef ecosystem in Raja Ampat after a ship ran aground at the Marine Protected Area (KKPN) of Raja Ampat.

The Ministry's Director General of Marine Landscape Tb Haeru Rahayu said in a statement here on Sunday, the ministry deplored the incident and collected evidence on ecosystem damage.

The ship ran aground on February 2, 2021 onto a coral reef in the west off Yefmo Island, Meosmanggara Village of West Waigeo Islands District, Raja Ampat, West Papua.

A team of Kupang National Marine Protected Area Agency (BKKPN), Marine and Fishery Resource Surveillance Unit, and Raja Ampat Port Administration that investigates the case identified the ship as MV Sabuk Nusantara 62 weighing 750 GT.

It was a pioneer ship carrying goods and passengers. The ship is owned by the Transportation Ministry and operated by Surabaya-based PT. Pelayaran Berkat Abadi Jaya Makmur.

The team found 46-meter long damaged reef which ranged between 1 to 5 meters in width and 1-2 meter in depth.

According to the team, the incident has destroyed 230 square meters of coral reef.

"We lamented the incident because it potentially damaged the waters ecosystem, especially its coral reef. Therefore I have ordered the team in the field to collect evidence on the damage to the ecosystem," Rahayu said.

The evidence could be used by legal officials to demand compensation over the damaged coral reef, he noted.

Meanwhile acting head of Kupang BKKPN Imam Fauzi said the agency has taken necessary measures to prevent such incident without ignoring public need of pioneer ships for their transportation.

"Raja Ampat waters has a unique sea bed contour where ships could easily run aground if the skipper did not have a knowledge on its characteristic. Therefore we need to design a shipping route map and an anchor point in the area, in cooperation with the Transportation Ministry and Raja Ampat Transportation Office," Fauzi said.

The map is expected to minimize the incident of a ship run aground in the marine conservation area, he said.

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Translator: M Razi Rahman, Sri Haryati
Editor: Suharto
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