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Protected coral reef horrifically damaged by yacht of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen

Paul Allen

(NaturalNews) A 300-foot super yacht, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has destroyed a large section of a protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands. The yacht's anchor chain tore through almost 14,000 square feet of the reef, damaging nearly 80 percent of the coral in the protected area.

Allen's yacht, the Tatoosh, had been anchored near two dive sites on the western coast of the Cayman Islands. A team of divers working for the Department of Environment has confirmed the damage after an in-water survey, but Allen's company, Vulcan, has avoided taking responsibility for the incident.

When the damage was first reported in the press, Vulcan released a statement saying: "Media reports are greatly exaggerated."

After it was revealed that the damage was indeed extensive, and that the yacht's anchor chain had caused the destruction of the reef, Vulcan attempted to shift the blame onto the local Port Authority.

From a later Vulcan statement:

"On January 14, 2016, M/V Tatoosh was moored in a position explicitly directed by the local Port Authority. When its crew was alerted by a diver that her anchor chain may have impacted coral in the area, the crew promptly, and on their own accord, relocated their position to ensure the reef was protected. Vulcan and the ship's crew are actively and cooperatively working with local authorities to determine the details of what happened. An investigation by local authorities is ongoing."

The ironic part of the story

Paul Allen has been an outspoken advocate of ocean conservation, and recently funded "cutting-edge research designed to stabilize and restore coral reefs." One of the research projects he has supported aims to apply "human-assisted evolution in developing resilient coral species," that can withstand the effects of rising ocean temperatures and acidity levels.

Meanwhile, Allen's monster yacht is carelessly anchored above a protected reef, and no one on board notices that the anchor chain is ripping up football field-sized chunks of the coral beneath – until a diver happens to notice the destruction and alerts the crew.

The Tatoosh is the 49th largest yacht in the world, boasting two helicopter landing pads, a gymnasium, a crew of 35, and 12 cabins which can accommodate up to 24 guests. Allen also owns an even bigger yacht, the 414-foot-long Octopus, one of the largest in the world.

It seems a bit absurd that a billionaire who claims to be committed to preserving the oceans finds justification to own two super-yachts. It's an indication of how truly out of touch these elites really are – and how they seem to consider themselves above ordinary mortals when it comes to taking responsibility for their own actions.

Apparently it's okay to criticize over-fishing and push for ocean conservation measures, while negligently dredging up protected reefs with one's own super-yacht.

Will there be any punishment? It's doubtful ...

Even if the maximum fine of $600,000 is levied against Allen, it's a mere drop in the bucket of his estimated $18 billion fortune. But even that is unlikely to happen, since in most such incidents no penalties are applied.

From The Guardian:

"The Cayman Islands has had several run-ins with large vessels in recent years. Carnival Cruise made a one-off donation after one of its cruise ships damaged part of the George Town harbor in 2014. Last year, a large tract of coral reef was destroyed by the Zenith, a Pullmantur cruise ship, but no fines or donations were paid."

As in most such cases, the rules are different for the super-rich. The attention of the media will soon be drawn elsewhere, the incident will pass without anyone taking responsibility, and Paul Allen can go back to pretending that he is saving the world.

Allen, who is also the owner of the NFL Seattle Seahawks and NBA Portland Trail Blazers, was reportedly not on board the yacht at the time.

That's not too surprising since – are you ready for this? – Allen allegedly "hates the sound of the ocean."










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