It appears there will be an effort to restore the reef that the Department of Environment said was damaged by the 300 foot yacht belonging to a billionaire software tycoon.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, through his company, Vulcan Inc., issued a statement late Monday afternoon, just before news time, saying they have developed a plan to restore the reef in the vicinity of the Doc Poulson wreck and the Knife dive sites.
However, the company calls into question whether the damage was in fact caused by Tatoosh, citing what they termed as “extensive past and recent damage” to the same reef.
Mr. Allen and his company have asked the DOE to fast track their plan, using their experts, to undertake a reef restoration effort.
Below is the statement in its entirety:
“Paul G. Allen and his company, Vulcan Inc., have a long history of commitment to improving the health and preservation of our oceans and marine life. As a global philanthropist and conservationist, Mr. Allen has developed programs and invested in solutions that protect and regenerate declining coral reefs, created the largest comprehensive data-collection and analysis of the world’s populations of reef sharks and rays, and is working to raise awareness and inspire action to address climate change and illegal fishing. Because of that commitment, the damage to the reef resonates particularly deeply with us and is why we supported swift action to help mitigate the impact and restore the reef as quickly as possible.
As has been stated previously, on January 14, 2016, M/V Tatoosh was moored in a position explicitly directed by the local Port Authority. When its crew was alerted by a private diver that her anchor chain may have impacted coral in the area, the crew promptly, and on their own accord, relocated their position to ensure the reef was protected. Since that time, the crew and Vulcan representatives have worked cooperatively with the Cayman Island Department of the Environment and other local agencies during the course of their review of the incident.
Since the incident occurred, Mr. Allen and Vulcan have taken steps to develop a remediation plan to restore the reef. We took this step even though extensive past and recent damage to this same reef, as a result of other incidents, makes it difficult to determine what, if any, actual damage was caused by the Tatoosh. Mr. Allen and Vulcan retained experts in coral restoration to assess the situation and provide assistance to the government, and last week proposed a remediation plan to the Department of Environment. Mr. Allen and Vulcan asked the Department to consider the plan on an expedited basis and have continued to offer the services of the experts to consult and work with the Department.
Paul G. Allen and Vulcan believe the most important action now is a rapid review of the remediation plan by local officials and the restoration of the reef. Time is of the essence, and we stand ready to begin playing our part in quickly implementing that plan.” – Vulcan, Inc.