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Shen Neng 1 leaks oil near Great Barrier Reef, $5 Million fine pending

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 9:49 am by
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The Shen Neng 1, a Chinese coal and oil ship, ran aground late last Saturday right off Queensland’s coast. The 230 meter freighter was carrying about 65,000 tons of coal and 950 tons of oil. The incident punctured at least one of the fuel tanks, and an effort to transfer the oil to other tanks within the ship began immediately. Australian officials report that very little oil has leaked, due to the fact that saltwater quickly surged into the ship, and the oil floated to the top. At this point, there are no accurate reports on the amount of oil may have leaked.

Tugboats are in the process of attempting to stabilize the ship, but this process may take a while. Patrick Quirk, Queensland’s maritime safety general manager declared “This is actually a delicate operation, and we won’t be rushing it.” Another vessel will be used to upload fuel from the Shen Neng 1 beginning today or tomorrow.

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was furious about the incident, in particular the fact that the vessel was more than 7 miles outside of the authorized shipping channel. A full investigation will be launched, and if found liable, the ship’s captain faces up to three years in prison, and the vessel’s owner face a fine of more than $5 million. Rudd went on to say, “From where I sit, it is outrageous that any vessel could find itself 12 kilometers off course, it seems, in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Accusations by environmentalists have surfaced, claiming that the ship’s crew intentionally attempted to take shortcuts through the reef in an attempt to save time.

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One Response to “Shen Neng 1 leaks oil near Great Barrier Reef, $5 Million fine pending”

  1. Lisa Haw Manning says:

    This is very sad and disturbing. I hope it will be cleaned up quickly.

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