Most Read Contributor in Cayman Islands, September 2016
Department of Environment (DoE) staff commenced emergency
salvage work yesterday (Wednesday, 17 February) on coral allegedly
damaged by the M/V Tatoosh, after receiving an independent coral
restoration expert's report of a comprehensive assessment of
the injury site.
'We now are in the position to begin emergency caching of
dislodged corals, whose survival is at immediate risk the longer
they remain unattached', said DoE Director Gina
'This temporary stabilisation and removal of coral to a safe
location (caching) is typically carried out following completion of
an injury assessment, to minimise further impact to the living
tissue of corals that are candidates for reattachment'.
Mrs Ebanks-Petrie said the final report from Mr William Precht
of Dial Cordy and Associates was received on Tuesday, 16 February.
The DoE began emergency salvage work the following day.
'Given that Vulcan Inc., the owner of the M/V
Tatoosh, disputes the DoE's initial assessment of the
scale of the damage, and furthermore questions whether the M/V
Tatoosh is the source of the damage, the DoE contracted with
Dial Cordy to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the injured
site', she said.
'We took this action in order to have independent
documentation and verification of the extent and degree of damage,
and also of the timing of the injuries to the coral. Mr
Precht's findings support the DoE's initial assessment as
to the damaged area, and the cause of the damage'.
Mrs Ebanks-Petrie added that by commencing the salvage work in a
timely manner, remaining living coral tissue could be saved.
Furthermore, time to full recovery of the site may be reduced, and
collateral injury from future storms may be minimised.
At approximately 10pm on Wednesday, 3 February, Vulcan Inc. sent
its initial proposed remediation plan to the DoE; the department
responded on 5 February. Subsequent drafts of the remediation plan
have been exchanged and reviewed by both parties, Mrs Ebanks-Petrie
The DoE is now waiting for Vulcan to respond to the DoE's
requests for changes to the proposal relating to the scope and
source of damage; the estimated length of the restoration period;
and Vulcan's funding of an independent agent to oversee and
monitor the restoration work.
'Because Vulcan continues to disagree with the scale and
source of damage, as well as the length of time required for the
restoration effort, details of the remediation plan have not been
finalised', she said.
She noted that Polaris Applied Sciences Inc., a coral reef
restoration firm, was contracted by Vulcan to assess the damaged
coral immediately after the alleged incident. Polaris
representatives returned to Cayman on Sunday, 14 February, and
notified the DoE of their interest in assisting with the emergency
salvage work on the evening of Tuesday, 16 February.
The DoE allowed Polaris to observe and assist, in order to
ensure that the emergency salvage works initiated by Government are
compatible with the methodology Polaris intends to employ, such
that Polaris can take over restoration work once remaining issues
with the restoration plan are resolved with Vulcan, Mrs Ebanks-
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