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Yachtsman accused of damaging coral reef

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A German yachtsman and owner of a 47-foot sailboat has appeared in an American court. The skipper is charged with damaging a coral reef near Kailua-Kona County , Hawaii.

The coral was damaged by the ship's anchor. This violates a local law that went into effect May 1, 2014. The purpose of the new regulation is to protect seafloor inhabitants. Under the law, the seafarer must pay a $1,000 fine.

The German, whose name was not disclosed, disagrees with the charge. He says that he could have put the boat in the harbor, but he was refused to moor it: all the unoccupied berths were reserved.

The refusal forced him to anchor his boat in a permitted anchorage. The yachtsman anchored his boat on the sandy bottom, but the winds moved the anchor and it snagged the coral reef with its chain.

In addition, the owner of the sailboat says that information about the law in force was not in the public domain, and international maritime law obliges the skipper to be primarily concerned about the safety of the vessel and the safety of the crew.

The case was considered to be complex and required extensive investigation.

The proceedings could have taken 4 to 12 weeks and prevented the ship from sailing to Alaska, so the dissenting party preferred to pay a fine.

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