[Coral-List] Margara Grounding

Tom Moore Tom.Moore at noaa.gov
Fri May 26 12:56:39 EDT 2006

As clarification to some of the messages on the list regarding the M/V 
Margara grounding in Puerto Rico.  PRDNER, NOAA, and the Responsible 
Party have an active emergency restoration effort underway at the site 
to salvage and stabilize impacted corals.  As part of the cooperative 
natural resource damage assessment process the responsible party has 
taken the lead (with direct oversight from the trustees) in implementing 
the necessary actions at the site.

In this case had the responsible party had not taken the necessary 
actions those actions would be implemented by the trustee agencies.   
The difference between the response to this groundings and others has 
nothing to do with the viability of the responsible party but rather the 
statutory authority for federal agencies to pursue natural resource 
damage assessment.  Federal statutory authority, outside of national 
marine sanctuaries, for NRDA following groundings is limited to very 
specific circumstances involving the mechanics of the grounding, the 
removal method, and the vessels contents.

Many reef groundings unfortunately have no response because no dedicated 
teams or funding are currently available where statutory authority is 
limited.   This problems has been highlighted again recently with a 
number of groundings and efforts are underway internally to try to 
secure funds so a more organized and effective mechanism will be in 
place to support and respond to future groundings where NRDA authority 
may be limited.

Tom Moore
NOAA Restoration Center
St. Petersburg, FL 

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