Coral reef damaged by Microsoft’s Paul Allen’s yacht is rebuilt
Yachting Boating World: Work has now finished to save the 14,000 square feet of damaged coral in the Cayman Islands that was hit by the billionaire’s $162 million mega-yacht Tatoosh in January.
The emergency restoration work on the protected reef was jointly administered by the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc. and The Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DoE). The work was carried out by Polaris Applied Sciences.
The Polaris team reattached 1,600 organisms, including hundreds of hard and soft corals and sponges.
The work to triage the area, which local officials say was damaged by the mega-yacht’s anchor and chain on January 14, included stabilising and removing rubble, re-creating structures, and rescuing and reattaching as much living coral as possible. More than 30 tonnes of cement and sand, along with eight tonnes of rubble, were used in the operation, says Vulcan Inc. in a statement.
The project, which took 300 hours over 24 days, was overseen by Dr. Harold Hudson, formerly of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a world leader in restoration of coral habitats.
“The reef remediation by Polaris Applied Sciences was an experienced-based approach to help minimise the damage and improve the likelihood of coral recovery in the area,” said Dr. Hudson. “The swift implementation of this plan provides the greatest chance for recovery of the affected area and I commend both Vulcan and the DoE for their efforts to help ensure its rapid completion.”
A coral restoration expert, William Precht, has been hired by The Cayman Islands Department of Environment to continue to oversee the project and monitor the area.