|Press Release||Source: Royal Caribbean International|
Royal Caribbean International Rebuilds Bahamas Coral Reef
Friday June 20, 10:30 am ET
The reef balls will be placed in two locations around CocoCay. Those placed in shallower waters, closer to shore, will increase and enhance fish habitat and will act as a snorkeling path that leads guests to areas of interest. Balls placed in deeper waters will assist in coral propagation. These balls also will be seeded with coral plugs to further spur the coral reef’s growth. Underwater and shoreside signs will explain what guests are seeing as they view the reef balls and tell how guests may help in protecting the island’s environment.
“Our reef restoration project is another excellent example of how dedicated our employees are to the ocean environments in which we sail,” said Capt. Bill Wright, senior vice president of Safety, Security and Environment for Royal Caribbean International. “I congratulate the Sovereign of the Seas crew and our Aquatics staff for their strong environmental efforts — both onboard ship and at CocoCay.”
Sovereign of the Seas was honored as Royal Caribbean’s 2001 Environmental Ship of the Year. For that accomplishment, the ship was given a $25,000 grant to use with an environmental charity or project. The ship’s crew members and the Aquatics Department are applying the $25,000 to the project in cooperation with the Reef Ball Foundation.
The company’s Aquatics staff on the island will work with the ship’s crew members to construct some 200 reef balls in six different fiberglass molds, as well as deploy them through the use of air bladders inflated within the balls. That work will be done when the ship makes its twice-weekly visits to CocoCay, during its three- and four-night Caribbean sailings from Port Canaveral, Florida. Guests onboard Sovereign of the Seas will be informed of reef ball deployment activities so they may observe. Guests also will be able to examine an actual reef ball near the island’s shoreline, where one will be displayed with informational materials explaining their use and the company’s effort to restore the near-by reef.
A monitoring program will be put in place to track the progress of the reef balls’ underwater developments. It will include the marking of each reef ball, underwater photography, pH measurements of the water, and fish population and coral growth assessments.
Additional information on the Reef Ball Foundation and reef ball use around the world may be found at https://www.reefball.org/ . The site’s “Photo Gallery” includes pictures of Royal Caribbean’s activity at CocoCay.
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