The Province of Palawan in the Philippines, have been one of the favorite destination areas of cruise ships that sail this part of Asia. Two of these cruise ships are Le Soleal and Caledonian Sky. The latter had scheduled a few visit to Coron, Palawan in 2015 and the former included El Nido and Puerto Princesa City among its destinations. For more details, please refer to this link.
Palawan is home to a string of islands and islets that are protected by the environment laws of the Philippines. These laws also covered the protection and conservation of the corals, the coral reefs as in the case of Tubbataha Reefs and other marine life surrounding the entire province. El Nido, specifically Bacuit Bay and the areas of Coron are among these protected areas. For more details about Le Soleal schedule to El Nido and Puerto Princesa, Palawan, please visit the link here:
Cruise ships, on the other hand, need to dock at its port of call. In the absence of this port or a wharf, passengers are transported to the islands by several boats. With this docking activity, the corals and other marine life will be threatened by the visiting cruise ships. Because of the size of the cruise ship, I think there must be an agreement between the Local Government Unit and the Cruise Liner operating these cruise ships, among others, for a cautious passage of the cruise ships in coral abundant areas of these islands.
There is also a fear of a coastal pollution and threats to the marine life of El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa. It is a common knowledge that cruise ships have their own set of rules and guidelines to implement so that they can protect and preserve the environment they visited.
It is therefore, a must for the Local Government Unit and other stakeholders in these destination areas to be more vigilant in monitoring the compliance of these cruise ships with the local environment laws.
We are aware that the business sector and the tourism sector, as well as the community, are all benefited by the visit of these cruise ships. So, while they are welcome and the local business sectors provide them with amenities and services that can make their visit a memorable one, the local community should also emphasize the most important aspect of this tourism activity – helping the community protect and conserve the marine environment.
If there will be a higher level of coordination between these two key players, then the local community such as El Nido, Coron and the coastal areas of Puerto Princesa will be protected. On the other hand, the cruise ship can also lessen their environmental footprints.
Source: youtube, uploaded by DW (English).
All photos of El Nido, Palawan by Henry C. Libo-on.