Vulcan, the investment firm of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, features a practice area that aims to “reduce our impact on the environment, particularly local watershed and ocean habitats.”
So you can imagine it more than a little embarrassing when Allen’s 300-foot yacht, Tatoosh, was accused yesterday of destroying a coral reef in the Cayman Islands that has been in an officially designated protected zone for the past 30 years.
Allen wasn’t on the boat at the time, but according to the Cayman News Service, its anchor and chain recently wrecked roughly 14,000 square feet of reef and damaged more than 80 percent of the coral in the area.
Vulcan has since released a statement, saying that on the day the damage was incurred, January 14, the crew was only following the instructions of the local Port Authority, and that when the crew was alerted by a diver that the anchor chain “may have impacted coral in the area, the crew promptly, and on their own accord, relocated their position to ensure the reef was protected.”
The statemement adds that “Vulcan Inc. and Paul G. Allen have a long history of responsible exploration and a commitment to ocean conservation,” including, ironically, a research project intended to stabilize and restore coral reefs.
An investigation by local authorities is ongoing.
Tatoosh, which has multiple helicopter pads, a basketball court, a swimming pool, and a movie theater and is staffed by 35 crew members, isn’t Allen’s only yacht. He also owns an even bigger yacht called the Octopus that’s equipped with a pool, two helicopters, a movie theater, basketball court, recording studio, and 40 guest suites.