21 July, Kuta-Bali: Coca-Cola Bottling Indonesia has pledged monetary support in the amount of $5,000 USD and 100 cases of Powerade drinks to be used in the effort to limit the amount of damage the wrecked fishing boat can to do to the reefs and beach at Padang-Padang. Yesterday, a second day of focused labor continued on the wrecked Taiwanese fishing boat that was abandoned and ran aground on the South Bali reef more than a week ago.
The immediate goal of the focused two day effort was to take advantage of a lull in the big wave activity and clean up the debris on the reef as well as to strip anything loose off the upper and middle decks of the boat before the next round of swell hits.
Given the position of the boat currently, wedged up against the rocks, it is likely that it will be hammered and be broken apart by any significant wave activity, so as many of smaller parts as possible have been removed in order to minimize the danger of these things floating around in the water or being stuck in the reef.
Accord to Jon Huberman, who was in the water diving and searching for underwater debris on Saturday, he found fishhooks and braided steel lines in the lineup area and managed to remove a significant portion of them from the reef. He stated “I’m really surprised that nobody has gotten injured out here surfing yet, as this stuff was everywhere and could have caused some real problems.” There are mostly likely other types of apparatus that are still lodged in between gaps in the reef and on the ocean floor, but the majority of the things that pose immediate danger to surfers are thought to have been removed at this point. To date, there have been surfers and bodyboarders in the water each day since the boat collided with the reef and we have not heard any reports of injuries being caused by any of the debris.
This was certainly a concern for the ISC and for Rip Curl, who are holding the 6 star prime Coca-Cola ISC sanctioned Rip Curl Cup Padang-Padang surfing competition there. The most recently projected starting date for the competition is Friday the 25th, as a large increase in swell and favorable tides are expected. The contest is currently in the second week of a 3-week waiting period, and to have a safe competition area is of prime importance.
According to those that have been involved in the recent efforts to limit the damage this boat will do to the reef and surrounding environment, when the abandoned fishing boat was first discovered aground on the reef at Padang-Padang it posed only a minor danger and could easily have been towed off the reef and to a nearby harbor, as there were no obvious signs of damage to the hull.
However, it appears that due to some political and bureaucratic issues arising from the labeling of the situation as a “crime scene”, the operational plan put together by some concerned parties could not be implemented. As a result, the boat is now in such a condition as to be next to impossible to tow away, and it is expected that the next several rounds of significant surf will continue to hammer away at the boat and it will begin to break apart.
This will in turn create an on-going project to contain the debris and to coordinate some type of effort to begin to move the boat, perhaps part by part as it breaks up. What is needed now is a game plan and resources to deal with the problem.
Charles Rossi, Regional Director for Coca-Cola Bottling Indonesia, said “We want to do anything we can to assist with the clean up and get this ship out of the area. We are committed to cleaning up Bali’s beaches and have already implemented programs to do so, starting with the Coca-Cola for Bali Coastal Clean Up Day which was held on July 13 at Kuta Beach and as Sanur Beach, and this is another case where we see a need and want to help out. ”
Other local and international individuals and businesses have also pledged their support, and the initial funds are be directed towards the ROLE Foundation, who have taken on the project and have coordinated most of the efforts thus far.
Coca-Cola and the ISC are committed to continuing to support the effort and will be actively involved in helping wherever possible.
We are also asking that there are any individuals or businesses that have expertise in this type of effort, please contact us here at the ISC. For a more detailed account from the perspective of the ROLE Foundation, please check their website at www.rolefoundation.org