May 17, 2011
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – The government is seeking compensation of not less than P42 million ($0.97 million) from a Panama-registered cargo tanker that destroyed a coral reef area in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, a senior government official said today.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said that damages inflicted on the Bakud (Takut) Reef in Kiamba, Sarangani by MV Double Prosperity on May 8 should include not only the cost of the damaged coral area, but the total worth of marine services that have been lost.
“We estimate that the damaged cost in Bakud Reef could run up to P42 million. But this amount is like giving a slap on the wrist on the ship’s owners as the value in marine services that was lost as a consequence of the accident is invaluable,” he said.
The 225-meter Panama-registered cargo tanker, loaded with 65, 900 metric tons of coal, was heading for India from Australia when it plowed through a portion of Bakud Reef, which is within the 215, 950-hectare Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), a declared protected area.
Authorities have estimated that a hectare of coral reef has an annual average value of 130,000 dollars in terms of services to people.