The Shen Neng 1 on Douglas Shoal. The white plume is destroyed reef mixed with sand.
The Shen Neng 1 on Douglas Shoal. The white plume is destroyed reef mixed with sand. Chris Ison

Anglers fear for future of shoals

A COAL-carrying ship that ran aground leaking oil on Douglas Shoal has Gladstone anglers angry, with many asking “why”.

“What was the ship doing 15 nautical miles off course?”, local angler Tim Churchill said.

“They have potentially destroyed the Douglas shoals.”

The Chinese Shen Neng 1 was 15km outside the shipping lane and near a known shortcut between reefs in Queensland’s world-famous marine playground when it crashed into coral.

A Maritime Safety Queensland spokesman confirmed the existence of a channel with sufficient depth to enable ships to pass through – effectively creating a Reef rat-run to save time and money in their journeys.

“It’s a reef that always produces a catch, it’s a major ecosystem out there,” he said.

Local fishing identity Darryl Branthwaite said the reef is going to be totally destroyed.

“The grinding of the reef and the cloud of sand coming off it is certainly going to affect marine life and the surrounding ecosystem,” he said.



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