Caribbean
Barbados Today

Carib - 'Compensation on the table' in talks with cruise ships on anchorage reef destruction

The Government has begun “serious and stringent” talks with cruise ships that berthed off the west coast, seriously damaging coral reefs that are vital to the island’s coastal protection, fisheries, marine life and tourism, according to Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey.

The Government has begun “serious and stringent” talks with cruise ships that berthed off the west coast, seriously damaging coral reefs that are vital to the island’s coastal protection, fisheries, marine life and tourism, according to Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey.

“There is no compensation that is off the table,” said the minister in light of a report from University of the West Indies experts that revealed extensive destruction of the reefs.

Humphrey gave an assurance that Government will continue to engage cruise lines to help rebuild the damaged coral reefs.

A report prepared by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) estimated that around 3.8 million square metres of coral reef were damaged between March and September 2020 while 28 ships were docked here during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Coastal Zone Management Act, damaging coral reefs carries a fine of $300 per square metre. Based on the fines alone, the value of the destruction would amount to 1.14 billion dollars.

“In our consultations with the cruise lines, where they should go, they did not go there on their own, we were guided and we had no idea what this level of damage or this level of alleged damage to vessels and we have made a determination that this cannot happen going forward,” said the maritime affairs minister.

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