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Restoration Center | DARP


Fortuna Reefer - Mona Island Emergency Coral Reef Restoration

Ship groundings are serious threats to coral reefs. Corals may be crushed or become dislodged. On July 23, 1997 a 325-foot container ship, the Fortuna Reefer, ran aground on the fringing coral reef surrounding Mona Island a nature reserve off the coast of Puerto Rico. The 6.8 acre site was dominated by an old growth stand of Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmatta. Despite the absence of an oil spill, the case was pursued under the Oil Pollution Act because of a substantial threat of an oil discharge and from the injuries to the coral related to the response actions. To ensure the highest probability of successful restoration, an expedited settlement was reached and restoration occurred several months after the grounding incident and was completed by October, 1997. The restoration strategy consisted of reattaching branches of coral that were sheared off by steel cables used in response activities by securing them with stainless steel wire and nails to the reef buttress and to the existing relic Acropora palmatta framework. At the conclusion of the restoration work, over 1,857 coral fragments were stabilized. Monitoring stations have been established to track the success of the restoration effort.


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Last Updated:
September 30, 2009