04 November 2005

Greenpeace apologises for reef damage

Greenpeace has apologised to the Philippines and "mother nature" for the damage caused by its flagship Rainbow Warrior II to a coral reef.

The 55-metre schooner ran aground at Tubbataha Reef Marine Park on Monday.

Greenpeace was fined nearly $US7,000 ($A9,481) earlier this week but blames what it describes as inaccurate navigational charts provided by the Philippine Government.

The ship caused damage to an 160 square metres of coral.

Greenpeace has offered a belated and unconditional apology after the ship sailed into the port of Manila to continue an island-hopping tour across the Asia-Pacific to promote climate change awareness.

"Yes, we admit we are human too. We apologise that this thing happened," Greenpeace South-East Asia campaign manager Von Hernandez said.

He says it is Greenpeace's understanding that "that these things happen quite frequently" at Tubbataha.

The reef is a spectacular 32,000-hectare formation in the Sulu Sea in the central Philippines that is listed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as a world heritage site.

Mr Hernandez says by paying the fine and making an act of contrition, "we hope we have set a positive example as far as this thing is concerned".

Source: www.abc.net.au


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