On 7 January 2012 the enormous Panama-registered cruise ship MSC Poesia – 100 foot long, 100,000 tons, 6000 + 1000 crew capacity – ran aground on the coral reef off Lucaya Beach, Grand Bahama. She was refloated by tugs on the evening high tide, leaving a trail of destruction to the reef behind her.

Video footage posted by FREDGBSCUBA shows the predicament of this huge vessel above the surface; his subsequent underwater footage graphically shows the extent of damage and explains the longer-term consequences of the incident, including the toxic effects of the anti-fouling paint scraped off the hull (video 3).

STOP PRESS Jan 18 The first video has now been blacked out, with the message that it has been “removed by the user”. Hmmmmm. No comment.

But through the magic of techo-wizardary it has been restored to life and can be now be seen again by clicking===>>>VIDEO 1 HERE

Video 2 has survived intact

Whoops! Video 3, a scientific analysis of the toxic anti-fouling paint, has now ‘gone’ too. Let’s see if we can… Good, here it is again

I’m no mariner, but wouldn’t a ship of that size and weight in known shallow water and reef territory have (a) navigators (b) detailed nautical charts (c) depth gauges or sounders and (d) one or more pairs of eyes keeping a look out? Or does this sort of thing happen all the time?

This is not Poesia’s first brush with misfortune. I see from Wiki that in her first year of operation, 2008, “…MSC Poesia and Costa Classica collided in the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik. No one was hurt, and the damage was minimal. The cause of it was that MSC Poesia’s anchor loosened and precipitated (sic) her to hit Costa Classica. Both continued their scheduled itinerary with no delays”. The coral has not escaped so lightly…

I see that this ship also plies the Venice lagoon. I hope she knows not to stray from the deepwater channels: the average depth elsewhere is ± 1 metre…

The website of MSC Cruises sets out an encouragingly positive environmental mission statement (below), so let’s hope the company swiftly applies these principles and comes up with proposals for redressing the adverse environmental consequences of this episode…

The vessel’s name means ‘Poetry’ – so, an inspiration for some hot doggerel: It really is beyond belief / That she should ground upon a reef / For ‘Poetry’, once set in motion / Upon a pristine turquoise ocean / Should avoid such Eco-griefs / And steer well clear of coral reefs…

Credits: Thanks to Fred Riger of Freeport for approval for using his 3 videos

STOP PRESS For a report of the incident in the Freeport News 14 January 2012 CLICK LOGO===>>>


    • Hi Shirley. Fred Riger’s middle video in the post describes the potentially damaging effects of rough weather (let alone hurricanes, I imagine) on the debris. Dust stirred up, choking the living reef; broken chunks of reef becoming “projectiles”, causing further damage to the reef eco-system. Presumably by next hurricane season there will have been considerable dispersal of the debris, but wherever the chunks go they will still be loose chunks… rh



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