JAKARTA: Indonesia summoned the British ambassador Friday after a cruise ship on a voyage organised by a London-based company smashed into coral reefs in a popular tourist spot and caused extensive damage, reports AFP.
Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on Earth, and attracts intrepid travellers and divers to its palm-fringed islands surrounded by coral and fish.
The accident happened this month when the 4,200-ton Caledonian Sky smashed into the reefs at low tide around Kri, one of hundreds of small islands in Raja Ampat, after taking tourists on a bird-watching expedition.
The boat, which was carrying 102 passengers and 79 crew, was grounded on the reefs and only refloated later on a high tide. Numerous attempts to free it using a tug boat failed, causing further damage to the corals.
The incident in West Papua province infuriated the government, who say the British captain could face criminal charges, while local residents believe it will impact the tourism industry and the livelihoods of fishermen.
On Friday Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan, a senior figure in the cabinet who is close to President Joko Widodo, summoned the British ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik.
After the meeting at Panjaitan’s office in the capital, Malik told reporters he had a “very good discussion” with the minister.