Well-known American billionaire and Microsoft founding member Paul Allen has reached a tentative agreement with the Cayman Islands government wherein he will make a compensation payment for the damages done to a coral reef in the islands’ waters in an incident involving his mega yacht.
The yacht, named the Tatoosh, damaged a segment of coral reef in a protected zone off of Grand Cayman earlier this year.Either party, as of publication of this article, has not disclosed the exact amount of money to be to the CI government for the damages done to the reef.
Earlier this year Mr. Allen made available monies for emergency restoration work to repair the part of the coral reef damaged by the super yacht’s anchor. The damage took place on a reef inside the West Bay Replenishment Zone of the Seven Mile Beach Marine Park area. The damaged area was extensive as reported and covered some thirteen thousand square feet of coral reef. The monies paid out were given under terms that specified no acceptance of fault on either side of the matter. This is according to a joint press statement from the Cayman Islands government and an entity referred to as“TDE Maritime” -which holds the ownership of the mega yacht.
Cayman Islands Environment Minister Mr. Wayne Panton commented that losing coral reef of any size affects not only the stability of the nation’s marine environment but also negatively impacts the Cayman Islands economy. The agreement reached with TDE Maritime therefore reflects a monetary value in line with the loss of a portion of a public resource and facilitates a permanent mooring solution in Seven Mile Beach Park. Mr. Allen stated that they are committed to environmental stewardship and have, in the past, demonstrated a proven history of working to improve ocean health through research, innovation and affecting policy changes. He went on to say that TDE Maritime’s experience around the world in ocean conservation has proven that real change requires dedicated, long-term investment to have any meaningful effect. He went on to remark that he shares the Cayman Islands Government’s long-term goals of responsible management of the natural environment.
Cayman Islands Environment Minister Panton said the agreement officially settled the matter between both of the parties. Originally there had been some back and forth regarding how much coral damage there actually was and which party was actually at fault. Initially, it was reported that the Tatoosh had been instructed by officials to moor in the location of the said damage but, as this agreement shows, an arrangement has been reached and no one has formally taken blame for the damages. A local dive master, who has chosen to remain unidentified, was the first person to report the damage to the popular reef area and report the Tatoosh’s anchor as the cause of the destruction.