Microsoft co-founder, billionaire Paul Allen said the crew of his 300-foot mega-yacht Tatoush is cooperating fully in the Department of Environment’s anchor damage investigation.
Mr. Allen’s communications team is not admitting fault. In a statement, Cayman 27 was told that Tatoush followed Port Authority instructions on where to place the vessel, but shifting winds changed that position, pushing the ship closer into what they termed a marine reserve area.
“The vessel quickly relocated its position and the crew is cooperating fully with local authorities to ensure that no marine life in that area was inadvertently impacted,” continued the statement.
The DOE told Cayman 27 Tatoush was anchored in a replenishment zone, which are the only areas where a ship the size of Tatoush can legally anchor. There are nine such zones around Grand Cayman, two on the west side.
DOE Deputy Director Scott Slaybaugh told Cayman 27 the department is “highly confident” the damage to the reef was caused by Tatoush. He said under the law, any damage to coral by chain or anchor anywhere in Cayman’s waters is an offence, no matter how much the individual responsible may be worth.
“It’s not going to depend at all on who’s vessel it is or what assets they have, it’s the value of the reef and that’s what we take seriously, so the consequence would be the same for anyone,” said Mr. Slaybaugh.
DOE divers managed to dive the site Tuesday (19 January) despite marginal conditions. They are working to quantify the extent and degree of damage to the reef.