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Submarine operator says sorry for coral damage

/ 10:50 PM May 25, 2013

CEBU CITY—Less than a month after denying responsibility, the operator of Yellow Submarine has apologized to the Lapu-Lapu City government for the damage on corals caused by the vessel when it rammed into a coral wall in the waters off Mactan Island last month.

“First of all, we would like to apologize for the trouble that the Yellow Submarine has caused,” said Jun Kim, general manager of  Cebu Yellow Submarine and Undersea Tour Group, in a letter addressed to Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza.

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In his letter, Kim said the company would “attend to the damages that may be established to have been caused by the submarine to the corals.”

“We are willing to take concrete steps that will help build coral reefs by creating artificial reefs or by creating coral nurseries in coordination with the government and private sector,” he added.

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He said tourist submarines around the world were safe and that no untoward incidents involving these vessels had been reported since their first operation in 1985.

“We will do our best as the first and only submarine in the Philippines to help live up to the DOT (Department of Tourism) slogan ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines,’” he said.

The letter of apology was a turnaround to the denial made by its spokesperson during a news conference on April 30.

Agnes Escano, Cebu Yellow Submarine spokesperson, said it was “impossible” for the submarine to hit the coral wall because the vessel always kept a 6-meter distance from the wall.

The company made the denial after the one-minute “Coral Crusher” video, uploaded on YouTube by Japanese diver Satoshi Tomoda on April 24, showed that the Yellow Submarine had hit a coral reef in Mactan seawaters.

Amid the uproar caused by the video, Radaza suspended the company’s business permit on April 29 and required the company to show cause why it should not be revoked permanently.

A group of divers checked the coral walls in waters off Barangay Maribago on May 1 and found that a portion of the coral wall had chipped off while damages were found on several other corals. The damage was new, the divers said.

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The Maritime Industry Authority also stopped the vessel’s operation until the cause of the damage to the coral reef wall was determined.

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TAGS: Coral reefs, Lapu-Lapu city, Mactan Island, Marine Ecology, Yellow Submarine
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