Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia; via Flickr CC
Just over a week ago, a coal-carrying ship - the Chinese Shen Neng 1 - ran around on Douglas Shoals in the Great Barrier Reef. The ship was inside a marine protected area. It then rammed into the reef, and leaked about 4 tons of heavy fuel causing a roughly 3 km oil slick. Despite that the captain of the ship belittled the concern over the damage done to the reef, teams were able to free the carrier from the reef, but not with out noting the serious damage done to the coral where the ship ran aground - damage that will take around 20 years to disappear. Now, Australia is taking legal action against the crew of the ship. Reuters reports that Australian police arrested two senior crew members - the ship's master and chief officer-on-watch - charging them with damaging the reef by failing to set a correct course.
The ship was around 12 nautical miles off course when it ran around on the Great Barrier Reef in a marine protected area.
"Investigations showed that the Shen Neng 1 failed to turn at a waypoint required by the intended course of the ship. A waypoint is a location at which a ship is to alter course," the federal police said in a statement.
The crewman is looking at a maximum of three years in jail and/or a $220,000 AUD fine, and the master faces a $55,000 AUD fine. In total, the company who owns the ship could look to costs of up to $23 million AUD, from fines and legal costs.
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More on the Coal-Carrying Ship on the Great Barrier Reef
UPDATED: Coal-Carrying Ship Wrecked on Barrier Reef Leaves 2-Mile Scar, 20-Year Damage
UPDATED: Coal-Carrying Ship Wrecked on Barrier Reef - Captain and Crew Think It's No Big Deal
UPDATED: Coal-Carrying Ship Wrecked on Barrier Reef Will Take Weeks to Remove