Microsoft Co-Founder’s Yacht Allegedly Destroys a Coral Reef

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Credit: Cayman Islands Department of Environment Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is a conservationist, but the crew of his yacht are being accused of destroying coral reef in the Cayman Islands.

Credit: Cayman Islands Department of Environment

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, owns a super-yacht that allegedly had a disastrous run-in with a coral reef.

Allen’s 300-foot yacht, The Tatoosh, took out a huge chunk of protected coral reef with its anchor chain in the Cayman Islands two weeks ago, according to the islands’ Department of Environment.

Ironic that Allen works to “save endangered species,” and “improve ocean health” through his charitable foundation and research projects.

Allen was not aboard the yacht during the incident, according to Scott Slaybaugh, the Department of Environment’s deputy director.

The Tatoosh had been stationed near two dive sites on the western coast of Grand Cayman, north of the capital George Town. The area is part of the West Bay Replenishment Zone — a section of protected waters that, unlike a Marine Park, does not limit vessels to a certain size.

An investigation is ongoing, but the initial estimate is that about 11,000 square feet (a quarter of an acre) of underwater terrain was destroyed.

The maximum fine for the damage is about $600,000, excluding civil damages, Slaybaugh said.

Allen can easily afford the fine. The 63-year-old is worth about $18 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index and Forbes.