Bulk Carrier Hard Aground at Popular Dive Site in Philippines

Mike Schuler
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June 14, 2016

The MV Belle Rose aground on Monad Shoal. Credit: Philippines Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guards says that a Panama-flagged bulk carrier has damaged hundreds of meters of coral reef off Cebu after running aground on Monday. 

The PCG confirmed Tuesday that the MV Belle Rose, a 183-meter bulk carrier, ran aground June 13 at about 3 a.m. on Monad Shoal, a famous diving site known as one of the only places on earth where you can consistently spot thresher sharks in the wild.

The Coast Guard said that a hull inspection revealed that the vessel’s hull is completely resting on the seabed, causing damage to an estimated 483 meters of coral reef.

So far there have been no signs that any oil has been released into the environment. 

The Coast Guard said the ship was loaded with 48,000 tons of cement powder when it ran aground, but as of Tuesday the cargo had been transferred to a sister ship of the Belle Rose

Salvage operations to refloat the vessel were continuing as of Tuesday. 

The location of the grounding is approximately 4 nautical miles southeast of Malapascua Island in Daanbantayan, Cebu.

The 50,472 DWT Belle Rose was built in 2010.

According to AIS data, the ship was sailing from Nantong, China and due to arrive in Cebu Monday morning. 

Diving websites say that the Monad Shoal attracts divers from all over the world, and is often crowded especially around sunrise. It sits on the edge of a steep 200 meter drop off and ranges in depth from 20 to 27 meters. 

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