DoE: Coral colonies sustain ‘serious’ damage from ship

Department of Environment research officer Cody Panton reviews the site of the Sept. 10 grounding incident involving the Jolly Roger in the George Town harbor. - Photo: Department of Environment

Small coral colonies sustained serious damage from Cayman’s pirate-themed ship the Jolly Roger when it ran aground during heavy rains on Sept. 10, according to the Department of Environment.

According to DoE researchers who inspected the site as part of an initial review, the boat struck the hardpan area just north of the George Town port after coming loose from its moorings.

The DoE said that the location consisted mainly of hard-packed sea bed, but a few small coral colonies sustained serious damage during the grounding.

These included two colonies of starlet coral, or Siderastrea siderea, and four colonies of brain coral, Diploria strigosa, as well as a small group of yellow porites, Porites astreoides.

The Jolly Roger had been moored off North Church Street at the George Town waterfront when the incident occurred.

No injuries were reported, and no pilot, crew or passengers were on board at the time.

The DoE said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

In a press release, the DoE reminded vessel owners to take precautions to inspect and secure their boats during periods of inclement weather to avoid destruction of marine life. potential injury to people and damage to property.