Submarine operator apologizes

THE operator of the controversial underwater tour in Lapu-Lapu City said they will take full responsibility for the damaged corals in a diving site where their submarine operated.

u201cWe would like to apologize for the trouble that the Yellow Submarine has caused,” Cebu Yellow Submarine Undersea Tour Corp. general manager Jun Kim said in a letter to

Mayor Paz Radaza last May 9.

u201cWe are taking full responsibility and are willing to attend to the damages that may be established to have been caused by the submarine to the corals,” he added.

‘No comment’

Lapu-Lapu City consultant Jonji Gonzales said the mayor still awaits the findings of the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation Inc., an independent group that inspects the site where the submarine operated.

u201cThe mayor will not comment (on the letter) pending the investigation of the City Legal Office,” Gonzales told reporters yesterday.

Kim said the captains of the submarine have been preventively suspended.

u201cWe are willing to take concrete steps that will help build coral reefs by creating artificial reefs or by creating coral nurseries in coordination with the government and private sector,” he wrote.

He assured Radaza they will ensure that the required distance of the submarine from the corals will be observed when the underwater tour resumes its operation.

Company’s mission

Kim pointed out that tourist submarines around the world are safe, with no reported untoward incidents since the first operation of a submarine tour in 1985.

Kim said part of their mission is to nurture, protect and preserve the marine environment in Lapu-Lapu.

City Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza said he hopes the submarine tour will be able to resume its operation.

Being the first submarine tour in the country, Mendoza said the business can help the City attract more tourists.

u201cIt’s an added feature for Lapu-Lapu’s tourism,” he told reporters yesterday. But he stressed that the operator should make sure the submarine does not destroy corals.

Mayor Radaza suspended the underwater tour last month after a video footage of the submarine hitting a wall of corals in the Kontiki Drop, a popular diving site off Mactan Island, went viral online.

The footage was taken by Japanese technical diver Satoshi Toyoda while diving last April 18.

The operator earlier denied hitting any coral reefs, saying the “cloud of dust” seen in the footage should not be taken as proof the submarine rammed into the corals.

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