The Shen Neng 1, 50km off the coast of Bundaberg. Photo: Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue
The Shen Neng 1, 50km off the coast of Bundaberg. Photo: Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue

Plans to protect reef from future shipping disasters

THE Queensland Government is developing new safety codes to ensure another shipping disaster like the Shen Neng One does not damage the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral on Douglas Shoal, off the Capricorn Coast near Rockhampton and Gladstone, is still struggling to grow back after the Chinese bulk coal carrier grounded on the reef in 2010, gouging a 3km long and 250m wide hole.

The carrier left behind a 4km oil slick and the toxic anti-foulant from the ship is still embedded in the shoal and seafloor.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority recently told Senate estimates it could not afford the $50 million to clean up the mess left by the carrier, which had drifted 10km outside shipping lanes.

Great Barrier Reef Minister Steven Miles said the government was working with the Commonwealth and International Maritime Organisation to develop a new bulk vessel class ensuring bulk goods' carriers in the world heritage area met stringent safety codes.

"We will additionally work with the Commonwealth Government and the North-East Shipping Management Group to agree upon safety codes for bulk goods carriers in the world heritage area," he said.

"Even now, recovery in coral and algal growth is slow as a result of the contamination from anti-fouling paint."

- APN NEWSDESK



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