British cruise ship CRASHES into protected coral reef off Indonesia
An "underwater Amazon" was severely damaged when the 90-metre ship ran aground during low tide.
Coral reefs are under threat around the world from climate change and pollution.
The 295-foot cruise ship, named Caledonian Sky, weighs about 4,200 tons and has 102 passengers aboard.
Martin Makusi, a local tourist guide and owner of a homestay in Raja Ampat, said he was "devastated" by the destruction of the reefs.
The damage to the slow-growing hard corals is likely to take decades to fix, and the compensation fund will be used to assist with the rehabilitation of the reef, along with the possibility of installing buoys to prevent ships from sailing too close to the reef in future.
That's the advice from Ricardo Tapilatu, a marine researcher from the University of Papua who is leading the assessment team. "Anchor damage from ships like these is bad enough, but actually grounding a ship on a reef takes it to a whole new level".
Noble Caledonia, the British-based tour company that operates the Caledonian Sky, said they were "very upset" by the damage, were working to reach a settlement with the government and had set up a fund to help fix the reef.
'They should've waited for high tide to refloat the vessel'.
Local tourism promoter Stay Raja Ampat posted on Facebook, "How can this happen?"
Mr Victor Nikijuluw, marine programme director at environmental group Conservation International Indonesia, said: "Even when (the reefs) grow back, they will not be as pristine as they were before".
The ship, named Caledonian Sky, is operated by Noble Caledonia, a British company.
"The skipper forced the ship to enter the area, which was not open to cruise ships", he said.
"The type of reefs that were damaged by the ship are Genus Porites, Acropora, Poicilopora, Tubastrea, Montiporra, Stylopora, Favia, and Pavites".
According to the report from Fox News, the total damage stretched over 145,000 square miles and costs approximately $18 million.
Indonesia's Forestry and Environment Ministry has deployed its staff to identify the damaged coral reefs and collect evidence that they will use to demand compensation from the British company.
Raja Amat means Four Kingdoms in Indonesian and sits between the Pacific and Indian oceans.
A 2002 report from Conservation International said it was home to almost 1,400 varieties of fish and 603 species of coral.