Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has reached an agreement with government to make a compensation payment for the damage done to a coral reef in the islands’ waters in an incident involving his yacht, the M/Y Tatoosh, earlier this year.
The amount of compensation has not been revealed by government or Mr. Allen.
Mr. Allen earlier this year also funded emergency restoration work to repair coral damaged by the boat’s anchor on a reef inside the West Bay Replenishment Zone of the Seven Mile Beach Marine Park.
The damaged area covered 13,000 square feet of reef, equivalent to an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The compensation involves no acceptance of fault on either side, according to a joint press statement from government and TDE Maritime, the ownership company for the yacht.
Environment Minister Wayne Panton said, “Losing any of our coral affects not only the stability of our environment, but also our economy. The agreement with TDE Maritime therefore reflects a value commensurate with the loss of our public resource and facilitates a permanent mooring solution in Seven Mile Beach Park.”
Speaking for TDE Maritime, Mr. Allen said, “We are committed to environmental stewardship, with a proven history of working to improve ocean health through research, innovation and policy change.”
“Our experience around the world in ocean conservation has proven that real change requires dedicated, long-term investment to have a meaningful effect,” he added. “We share the Cayman Islands Government’s goal of responsible management of the natural environment; and this agreement will help preserve the reefs and ecosystem for future generations.”
Minister Panton said the agreement settles the matter between the parties.
“Our goal was to work with TDE Maritime in order to reach the best agreement for Cayman; and we achieved this goal because of our shared commitment to the environment,” he said.