Reef badly damaged off coast of Florida

Protecting the reefs WPEC.PNG

Right now an underwater investigation is underway just off of our coast.

State officials are working to figure out who's responsible for damaging a section of a reef.

Investigators are pointing the finger at weeks marine, sending a warning letter notifying them of the damage and investigation.

The Director of Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Ed Tichenor, says he notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection after tracking the movement of a dredge near several reefs off of Palm Beach.

He gave us pictures depicting damage that he says divers found just days after the ship's encounter with the reef. "It takes centuries for these reefs to come back and every year we lose more and more of it so every bit of it becomes more critical to the survival of the ecosystem," Tichenor said.

State investigators will now determine if state law was broken and who's responsible. The Florida Coral Reef Protection Act was enacted in 2009 and was created to improve the health of Florida reefs.

Damage to a reef could result in liability for damages and restoration, civil penalties and more.

CBS12 reached out Weeks Marine for comment on the letter but so far have not heard back.

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