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Captain and Mate Arrested for Grounding on Reef
Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:11 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392

According to, “Australian police arrested a Chinese ship captain and senior officer Wednesday, April 14 and charged them with damaging the Great Barrier Reef, more than a week after their coal carrier ran aground and tore a two-mile (three-kilometer) gash in the protected area.

The Shen Neng 1 veered out of a shipping lane and slammed into the reef on April 3, possibly smearing the coral with toxic paint that could prevent marine life from growing back. Even in the best case scenario, experts said the damage could take 20 years to heal.

Coral shredded the ship's hull, causing it to leak two to three tons of fuel oil. Most of the oil was dispersed by a chemical spray and did little or no damage to the reef itself, but officials said Wednesday they believe some of it has begun to wash up on the beaches of a wildlife sanctuary. also reported that the vessel missed a waypoint, failing to turn, which caused the accident.

The chief officer, who was in charge at the time of the incident, could face up to three years in jail as well as up to AUS$220,000 in fines.  

The vessel was removed from the reef on Monday, April 12, however the damage has already been done as tides pushed the vessel further along the reef, causing more harm after the initial grounding. 

 “‘There is more damage to this reef than I have ever seen in any previous Great Barrier Reef groundings,’ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief scientist David Wachenfeld said Tuesday,” reported. They also state that the oil possibly washed ashore on a turtle hatchery and bird sanctuary on North West Island.  Clean up efforts have begun.

Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010 11:16 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

MSNBC has it wrong. The ship turned too early, actually, it was 15nm off the lane it was supposed to be in. We passed by the ship the other night on the way to Cairns. It's not that difficult a region to navigate with large channels having plenty of water, and the conditions when they wrecked were pretty benign. This was a full on balls up.

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