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Coral reef damaged by the grounding of the T/V Margara
Coral reef damaged by the grounding of the T/V Margara

Trustees Release Final Compensatory Restoration Plan for the T/V Margara Incident

December 9, 2021

NOAA and trustee partner the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, approved and released a final compensatory restoration plan (PDF, 93 pages) for the T/V Margara Incident. The plan outlines a restoration project to compensate the public for interim losses to the coral reef ecosystem that resulted from response actions to prevent a release of oil from the T/V Margara after it ran aground in Bahia de Tallaboa, Puerto Rico in 2006.

A draft of the plan was released for public comment in October 2020.  

The selected project will restore corals and coral reef ecosystems through propagation activities, which is growing new corals from fragments of others. The restoration project described in the plan would consist of propagating multiple species of corals in nurseries located both in the ocean and in a lab, and outplanting them to reefs in Puerto Rico. Approximately 86,000 corals will need to be outplanted to make up for the 165,000 corals that were lost as a result of the T/V Margara Incident.

History of the Incident

In April 2006, the T/V Margara, a 228-meter oil tanker carrying over 300,000 barrels of fuel oil, ran aground on a shallow coral reef. Response actions to this substantial threat of discharge of oil into Bahia de Tallaboa caused significant damage to the coral reef—6,755 square meters of coral reef were affected, including six species of coral that are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  Emergency restoration efforts immediately following the Incident saved approximately 10,500 corals, but did not address the rubble areas that were created by the Incident.  

Phase I of the comprehensive restoration plan for the T/V Margara Incident was released in May 2015 and it outlined primary restoration actions needed to stabilize the rubble areas so they could recover. Primary restoration was funded by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in 2019.

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In ocean coral nursery. These corals will be transplanted to the reefs for restoration
Another type of coral nursery. Corals will be transplanted to the incident site for restoration