A huge barge – carrying building materials, a bulldozer and a crane – has crashed into the reef at Sipadan. The accident is said to have damaged hundreds of square meters of the reef.

All diving operators and resorts had to leave the island of Sipadan on environmental grounds a couple of years ago: so what was the barge doing there?

According to Andrea and Antonella Ferrari, authors of A divers’ guide to Underwater Malaysia Macrolife,

“The damage is incalculable — one of Sipadan’s most precious and beloved spots, well-known the world over, is no more, transformed by a single inexplicable act of human carelessness into a grisly mass of broken and pulverised corals, shredded turtles and mounds of grey gravel suffocating what little is left of the legendary drop-off.”

The barge was anchored next to the drop-off. Sipadan is a limestone pinnacle rising from 600 m. It is not far from the East coast of Sabah, Malaysia.

Source: Fins Magazine

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  1. i think we need to put allot of international pressure on the Malaysian government to get this sorted out, and stop any further development of the facilities being built on the island.

  2. The barge operator has been given a contract to build tourist facilities such as toilets and restaurants on the island (source: Malaysian National News Agency).

    When the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah (who is also Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister) was asked how the barge could sail to the protected island, he said the contractor who was involved in the project was not given any approval by Sabah Parks to use such a huge vessel to transport the building materials or equipment.

    Asked whether the contract would be terminated, he said:

    "We have to wait and see… the contractor has been very cooperative and has admitted the faults."

    Not, I suspect, what divers around the world wanted to hear.

  3. The relevant Sabah governemt body has a lots to explain before it shifts the blame soley onto the owner of the barge. It is published in the local paper(and the tourism ministry disclosed for the first time that)the state goverment has given a contract to the main contractor of the barge owner to a build a RM5.0 million structure on the island. Surely the contract must have stipulated what are building materials to used and the mode of their transportation. Why don't the government body just come clean and tell the true?

  4. The owner of the barge that decimated the reef of Sipadan should be heavily fined and the money used to repair the reef which will take many years. All travel to Sipadan should be halted for 2 years.


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