Monday, April 12, 2010

Coal Ship Grounded On Barrier Reef Refloated

No Additional Oil Spilt
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA - Salvage experts have successfully refloated the coal carrier Shen Neng 1, according to Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ). The vessel had run onto the Great Barrier Reef on the 3rd of April, causing consternation that one world’s most famous ecological sites would be subject to considerable oil contamination.

However, the 230-metre long bulk carrier, still loaded with 65,000 tonnes of coal, was moved without adding to the slick that was caused in the crash, when two tonnes of fuel oil was spilt.

Speaking of the salvage Patrick Quirk, general manager at MSQ, said that: “The refloat was a success.

“Salvors have been watching the vessel’s stability and looking for any evidence of further oil spills.

“Our intention has always been to keep oil loss to a minimum so we could take it to safe anchorage.”

The recovery was undertaken by three tugs and the Shen Neng 1 is currently anchored three miles from the Douglas Shoal undergoing inspection.

The success of the salvage operation is not likely to dampen the anger that many  Australians have expressed over the accident. The Douglas Shoals, the location of the event, is fifteen nautical miles from approved shipping lanes and increasing shipping traffic between Australia and Asia means more incidents are being recorded in this ecologically sensitive area.

With the government of Queensland today announcing that they intend to increase the maximum possible fine for vessels involved in accidents in the Great Barrier Reef area to A$10 million from A$1.8 million it looks like the Australians are planning on making it abundantly clear that such incursions are unwelcome and potentially very expensive.

(pic: With thanks to Maritime Safety Queensland)