Containership Grounding Causes ‘Significant Damage’ to Cayman Islands’ Reef

mv expanse
File photo of the St Vincent Grenadines-flagged MV Saga (Expansa). Photo:

Officials in the Cayman Islands are trying to determine exactly how much damage was caused to a coral reef after the grounding of the containership MV Saga near George Town.

The Ministry of Environment says it is aware of the incident and is in the preliminary stages of its investigation into the grounding and survey of the reef.

The 3,800 dwt MV Saga ran aground early Friday morning as it was leaving port. The vessel was pulled free by a tugboat and taken back to port, but not before the ship’s hull reportedly crushed a significant area of the coral reef.

“The environment is Cayman’s most precious commodity, and a viable public asset that affects our way of life. Any purported damage to our natural resources is a matter of grave concern,” a statement from The Ministry of Environment said. “The Department of Environment’s assessment of the incident is still in the preliminary stages; and they will be surveying the damage in the coming days.’

The statement added: “Once the true environmental impact of this incident is identified, the Ministry will be taking legal advice on the next course of action. The public can rest assured that arrangements are being made so that the responsible party can make restitution.”

In October, the Cayman Islands Government settled with Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen over damages to a reef caused by the anchor of his mega-yacht Tatoosh earlier this year.