Shortly after a grounded tug boat was removed from the reef infront of Blue Corner we put together a team to survey the damage.
The vessel was grounded on a shallow area of reef during the night and removed at 9am wednesday 27 March. This event took place during a project involving the construction of a marine cable. Additional impacts have resulted from this construction project on other areas of the reef due to dragging of barge anchors. The impacted area is within coral reef habitat of high environmental and economic value - known locally as Mangrove Reef and Blue Corner reefs.
Ship groundings can remove large areas of coral habitat causing negative environmental effects on dependant fish and invertebrate communities, as well as an overall decrease in ecosystem health. Ship groundings and anchor scars break apart the structure of hard corals creating an unstable substrate. This unstable rubble substrate has been found to subsequently cause increased destruction as shifting rubble smothers and erodes neighboring areas of habitat. Such degraded substrate usually needs stabilization through a comprehensive reef restoration plan in order for the habitat to repair.
The impacted area of coral reef will need substantial restoration because of the area's high value to the tourism industry of the island.
The impact area was measured and calculated to be 914 sq m of high value coral habitat.