The action was a protest against damage being done to coral reefs in the area and the long-term impacts of climate change.

In early 2017, hundreds of square metres of coral were destroyed by five of the barges, which carry coal from mines in Kalimantan to power plants in Java, according to Greenpeace.

Since the start of 2018 it said there had been three incidents in which coal barges had damaged the reefs.

The environmental campaigners’ ship Rainbow Warrior followed the coal barge out of the national park, which contains coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove areas and which Greenpeace Indonesia describes as “one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia” and a “popular scuba-diving area”.

“This coal trade is destroying one of the most beautiful areas of Indonesia and one that the government has promised to protect as a national park,” said Climate & Energy Campaigner Didit Haryo.

“Yet a reef check shows that where the barges have hit the coral, 50% of the lifeforms are dead.”

The regular barge traffic also threatened the livelihoods and health of Indonesians working in the local fishing and tourism industries, said Haryo, adding: “It’s time the government chose people over fossil fuels and urgently transitions to renewables.”

The protest was described as part of the global Break Free campaign against fossil fuels.

Divernet - The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers