Environmental regulations can often sound annoying, arduous, or unnecessary, but that’s often because most of us aren’t familiar with the very reasons for their existence. Even something as simple as dropping anchor on a coral reef – which sounds not so bad, I mean, it’s just a hunk of metal landing on some rocks, right? – can be devastating.

The Zenith, a cruise ship operated by Pullmantur Cruises (a division of Royal Caribbean), was docking in Grand Cayman, according to the video description:

Another sad day for the reefs of Grand Cayman. Today we noticed that the Pullmantur Zenith (a division of Royal Caribbean Cruise lines) was anchored oddly close to the reef so we decided to go out and have a look...As you will see in the video, a massive portion of the reef out front from Don Fosters and Eden Rock was completely destroyed today. The Department of Environment was contacted but nothing could be done because this was a designated anchorage zone and they were given permission to drop anchor. In the previous several decades this pristine portion of the reef was never needed as an anchorage location but for some reason today, when there was only 4 ships in port, it was deemed necessary.

Dealing with regulations can seem bad for you on first glance, but when it comes to things like this they can be very necessary. Sure, some of them are completely, utterly pointless, but every so often, they make sense.

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We’ve reached out to Royal Caribbean for comment on what happened here, and will update if we hear back.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean responded to our e-mail, and the gist of it is that they were told by the local authorities to drop the anchor there. Its full statement is below:

When Pullmantur Zenith arrived to Grand Cayman on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, they were directed to a designated anchorage positon by the port pilot. The spot where the ship dropped anchor was correct, located in the zone designated by the government for anchorage, and was not in any protected areas. This is a very unfortunate situation and we will work closely with Grand Cayman authorities to ensure this does not happen again.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. understands the importance of protecting the marine environment and sustaining the well-being of the places we visit. Protecting the health and welfare of our oceans is always foremost in our minds.


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
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