How to Save a Reef: Send In the Troops

Illustration for TIME by Ian Smith

Who in the world would choose to travel to Malaysia's Sipadan Island? Last April, greedy Philippine brigands put Sipadan in the Holidays-From-Hell atlas when they abducted 21 foreign tourists and local workers from a diving resort and hauled them, at gunpoint and in boats, to a lair in the jungles of the southern Philippines. The hostages underwent a six-month ordeal, and overnight one of the world's scuba-diving meccas, known for its spectacular coral reefs, became better known as a terrorist hot spot.

The hostage crisis scared away all but the most determined divers, and who could blame them? But now it's time...

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