Coal ship damages coral reef


A ship carrying coal ran aground in the Philippines last week destroying a large area of marine sanctuary.

The Panamanian registered MV Double Prosperity was travelling from Australia to India with a cargo of 65,000 tonnes of coal when it ran aground on coral reefs in Sarangani Bay on the southernmost tip of the island Mindanao in the Philippines.

It is estimated that the ship has damaged over four hectares of coral at a cost of roughly £500,000. As of Friday more than half the ship still remained aground on the Bakud Reef.

Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape area Superintendent Dirie Macabaning is quoted in the Manila Bulletin: “Our inspection team has yet to complete their assessment but the reports so far showed that the damage on the reef was quite significant.”

He added that the investigators  were working together with the Philippine coastguard divers to assess the damage but that both were concerned about the far reaching consequences of the destruction to the reef.

An investigation had shown that the ship had miscalculated its route and sailed into shallow water.

Sarangani Bay is an area of outstanding marine biodiversity with a total of 11 Marine Protected Areas in the province.

A Chinese coal ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef just over a year ago damaging over two miles of coral through a combination of oil spill, anti-fouling paint and physical damage. It was estimated at the time that the reef  would take around 20 years to recover.