Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen might be in favor of ocean conservation, but nothing, not even the coral reefs he sought to preserve, can stand in the way of his multi-million dollar yacht.
The multi-billionaire’s 300-foot Tatoosh plowed into a protected coral reef off the shores of the Cayman Islands earlier this month and succeeded in destroying almost all of the delicate underwater formation.
The Cayman Department of Environment claims an anchor chain from the $162 million yacht tore up a 13,800-square-foot swath of reef, which amounts to approximately 80 percent of the conserved area at the West Bay replenishment zone.
Now, the tech giant’s co-founder might face a hefty fine up to about $600,000 — but that’s hardly going to make a dent in Allen’s pocket, who has a net worth of $18.1 billion.
Timothy Austin, deputy director of research at the environmental department, claims Allen could also get four years of prison and have his beloved yacht confiscated. However, it is unlikely that Allen will have to part with his cruise ship as insurance will likely cover the damages to the reef.
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Investigators are still determining the extent of the damage and will be able to give a full report this week. While it is possible to rebuild some parts of the reef, it takes a lot of money and is very labor-intensive.
“In addition to assessing the damage and determining the cause of this incident, we are also paying close attention to lessons learned so that we can more effectively prevent these accidents while still hosting visiting yachts,” said a representative of an environmental body.
Meanwhile, the Microsoft co-founder claims he was not onboard the yacht at the time of the incident and it checks out with his claim that he does not like the sound of the ocean. His company, Vulcan Inc., has issued a statement saying the Tatoosh was moored in place directed by the port authorities.
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