‘Fix it before it’s too late'

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019

Path of destruction: The coral damage after the vessel (top) ran aground through the reefs in Kudat.

KOTA KINABALU: A few days ago, a cargo ship was stranded in waters off Pulau Kalampunian off Kudat district due to navigational problems and the incident damaged corals in the area.

Now, tourism players and conservationists want the authorities and the vessel involved to take action, which includes restoring the corals damaged in the area.

Bluefin Surf and Dive founder Ivan Tan said the vessel ran aground on corals creating a path underwater through the fragile ecosystem.

“I can’t say how serious exactly the damage is but I think the Sabah Parks and other relevant ministries should come and restore them, ” he said when contacted yesterday.

Tan added that the damaged area was close to a dive site known as Nemo Point and he along with other divers had gone to the area to check it out as they had to bring divers and snorkelling guides there for their activities.

He said a similar incident had occurred in the late 1970s or 80s but this time the damage could have a more far-reaching impact on marine life.

“We are hoping that restoration works could be conducted at those affected areas as these corals took between five and 10 years to grow, ” he said.

Kudat is part of the 898,762.76ha of Tun Mustapha Park which has a unique biodiversity that supports a series of complex and linked habitats.

It is also home to endangered species such as green turtles and dugongs.

Kudat Turtle Conservation Society chairperson Sofia Johari said based on a study by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), the affected area is an important foraging site for the protected Green and Hawksbill sea turtles.

“The damage to the area could have severe impact on sea turtle populations inhabiting the waters as well as those that travel in the region, ” she said.

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