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    Coal Ship Leaking Oil Near Great Barrier Reef, Owners Face $1M Fine

    On Saturday, a ~750ft long Chinese owned coal ship named the Shen Neng 1, went off route nearly 9 miles before striking a sandbar at Douglass Shoal just east of  Great Keppel Island, in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The ship is holding 65,000 metric tons of coal and 975 tons of […]

    On Saturday, a ~750ft long Chinese owned coal ship named the Shen Neng 1, went off route nearly 9 miles before striking a sandbar at Douglass Shoal just east of  Great Keppel Island, in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The ship is holding 65,000 metric tons of coal and 975 tons of fuel that is currently leaking into the water creating a black ribbon said to be in the 3km range (1.86mi).

    The ship is currently stuck, but Australia is making every effort to minimize the impact on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The ship is rocking due to the strong currents in the area, and it is feared this continued stress will cause additional damage and leaking. Recently a helicopter has released chemical dispersants in the immediate area to help break down the oil that has been released. Additional work is being done to resurface the ship and remove it from the area.

    The NY Times is reporting that a hole in the ship has allowed water into the engine room, severely damaging the main engine and rudder. They also estimate the fuel amount equates to 300,000 gallons.

    Queensland premier Anna Bligh has reportedly said to The Australian that the ship’s owners, Cosco Group could be fined more than $1 million AUD (~$921K USD) with the captain of the ship being struck with an additional $220,000 AUD fine (~$202K USD). Note: regulators have said such shipping businesses are required to have insurance for such accidents.

    Locals and marine related businesses are outraged at the obvious misguiding of the ship as it went so far off course from the normal shipping channel. The use of dedicated pilots to navigate this heavily restricted environmental area have been suggested in the past, and this incident has rekindled the debate.

    See a map of the area on Google:
    View Larger Map

    7 Comments

    1. Tom Cutler
      April 5, 2010 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

      1 million? That's it? Doesn't seem like a lot for an oil company.

    2. April 5, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

      it's the freight company that is paying, not the oil company… actually it's the insurance company that is paying 😉

      … at the end of the day oil prices increase, it's us that's paying for their stupid mistakes…

    3. danger
      April 6, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

      ummm, its a coal ship not oil….

    4. danger
      April 6, 2010 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

      ummm, its a coal ship not oil….

    5. Anonymous
      April 6, 2010 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

      Who thought him how to drive!! thats like hitting a parked car

      learn how to read a map losser!

    6. blindsidejosh
      April 6, 2010 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

      Who thought him how to drive!! thats like hitting a parked car

      learn how to read a map losser!

    7. March 21, 2011 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

      We weren’t able to scuba dive during our stay in Whitsundays Island last year because of this incident. I hope by now, the Great Barrier Reef is now back to normal. The reef is home to a lot of endangered animals, along with tons of different species of sea creatures. The reef was already under threat by global warming, before this spill happened. I hope no incident like this ever happens again.

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