Divers Capture a Cruise Ship Destroying Coral Reef

Cruise ships are notorious for not being the best environmental stewards. Now a pair of scuba divers have captured the destruction of a coral reef by a cruise ship in the Cayman Islands. 

The video, which was posted to Youtube the day it occured on Dec 8, shows an anchor chain from the Pullmantur Zenith, a ship owned by a division of a Royal Caribbean subsidiary, being dragged over a section of coral reef.

The ship was anchored in a marine park, but according to an official with the Department of the Environment, ships are permitted to anchor in the area, though it had been seldom used so they didn’t realize a reef was there. 

“Although this reef was in a distressed state prior to the anchoring, we view any loss of any coral reef as highly regrettable in this age when coral reefs worldwide are in decline,” Scott Slaybaugh, the Cayman Islands’ Department of Environment deputy director, told Huffington Post.

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman expressed remorse for the incident, but said the ship did receive permission to anchor there. 

“This is a very unfortunate situation and we will work closely with Grand Cayman authorities to ensure this does not happen again,” Global Corporate Communications Director Cynthia Martinez stated in an email to HuffPost. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. understands the importance of protecting the marine environment and sustaining the well-being of the places we visit.  Protecting the health and welfare of our oceans is always foremost in our minds.”

The creator of the video, Scott Prodahl, vented on the Youtube post.

“As part of the marine park, we are not allowed to fish here, not allowed to hunt lobsters, you can’t even pick up an empty shell, all in the name of conservation?….but for some reason you can drop an anchor and wipe out a reef that took thousands of years to grow,” he wrote. 

Photo credit: Youtube