A group of scuba divers led by Scott Prodahl, a dive instructor with Don Foster’s Dive Cayman, captured the shocking reef devastation caused by the MV Zenith cruise ship, owned by Spanish-based Pullmantur Cruises (a division of Royal Caribbean Cruise lines).
The ship was anchored off the southern coast of George Town in the Cayman Islands, the morning of December 8, 2015.
In the embedded video below, Prodahl explains:
“As you will see in the video, a massive portion of the reef out front from Don Fosters and Eden Rock was completely destroyed today. The Department of Environment was contacted but nothing could be done because this was a designated anchorage zone and they were given permission to drop anchor.”
In the lengthy video description on YouTube, Prodahl continues:
“In the previous several decades this pristine portion of the reef was never needed as an anchorage location but for some reason today, when there was only 4 ships in port, it was deemed necessary.”
“As part of the marine park, we are not allowed to fish here, not allowed to hunt lobsters, you can’t even pick up an empty shell, all in the name of conservation?….but for some reason you can drop an anchor and wipe out a reef that took thousands of years to grow. This video was shot roughly an hour after the anchor was dropped, I can’t imagine what it looks like now.” – Dive Instructor, Scott Prodahl
According to Cayman 27 News, a similar incident occurred in August of 2014 after the cruise ship Carnival Magic dropped anchor on a nearby reef. The main difference is that the MV Zenith was actually inside the designated anchorage zone. [source]