News

Foreign ships risk our reef, beaches

MAJOR INCIDENT: The Shen Neng 1 and the beginnings of an oil spill.
MAJOR INCIDENT: The Shen Neng 1 and the beginnings of an oil spill. CONTRIBUTED

QUEENSLAND beaches could be put at a higher risk of oil spills if more foreign ships are allowed to operate within Australian waters.

A controversial plan from Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss would allow foreign-owned and operated ships to transport freight between Australian ports, a task mostly restricted to local ships at the moment.

Since 2001, five of the six major oil pollution incidents in Australian waters have occurred off the Queensland coast.

Each involved a foreign-flagged ship.

Among those was the Shen Neng 1 that ran aground on the Douglas Shoal on the Great Barrier Reef off Great Keppel Island in 2010.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the ship's chief mate had slept just 2.5 hours in the 38.5 hours before the disaster.

The year before the Shen Neng incident, the Pacific Adventurer ran aground off Cape Moreton in south-east Queensland, dropping 270 tonnes of heavy fuel and 31 containers into the ocean.

The fuel washed up along 56km of beaches, including parts of the Sunshine Coast and on Bribie and Moreton islands.

The use of foreign-flagged ships is under scrutiny from a Senate inquiry following the suspicious deaths of two men aboard the Sage Sagittarius in 2012.

Under the government's proposal, foreign crews could avoid working to Australian laws, lowering the cost of transporting freight nationally.

The government believes if shipping is made more competitive, the industry could boost productivity and the economy.

Mr Truss's office declined to answer specific questions about the impact of the reforms until after the release of the inquiry's report, due next week.

In mid-2015 while pushing the maritime changes, Mr Truss told Federal Parliament it was more expensive to ship sugar from Thailand to Australia than to ship it between Australian ports.

In a submission to the inquiry, the Department of Border Protection warned foreign ships may not follow international laws, and may rely on smaller crews.

These factors "contribute to a heightened risk to the environment", the department found, "potentially leading to a compromise to biosecurity, for example through poor ballast water management or by causing maritime pollution".

International Transport Workers Federation coordinator Dean Summers said foreign crews may also be less likely to respect the environment.

"If you're an Australian seafarer travelling around the Australian coast, the last thing you would do is pollute the waters," he said.

"But a Burmese seafarer who fears for his livelihood and his life - the last thing he's going to care about is complaining about the captain and the engineer who are trying to save money."

Opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said the reforms were "against Australia's economic, environmental, strategic and national security interests".

The Senate voted down the proposals on November 26.

Mr Truss said the Federal Government remains committed to the changes.

Topics:  australian transport safety bureau beach editors picks great barrier reef great keppel island oil spill water pollution



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Mining skills shortage looms as jobs begin to rush in

BUSINESS BOOMING: Coaltrain CEO Karla McPhail says future is bright in the mining training sector at the moment.

A skills shortage in the mining sector looms if more don't train

Local Partners

Better phone service for Gladstone's regional towns

Telstra: "This technology is delivering big benefits to these rural and regional communities”


Win a $1000

GROCERY GIFT CARD!
Learn More

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Gladstone's MasterChef hero blown away by support

CRANE driver Pete Morgan has been bowled over by the support he has received since making his TV debut on MasterChef.

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!