THE Australian Marine Conservation Society has expressed concerns after reports that the new massive gas ships taking LNG from Gladstone across the Great Barrier Reef are operating under 'flags of convenience'.
The first consignment of liquefied natural gas was transported out of Gladstone last week aboard the Methane Rita Andrea, a flag of convenience ship registered in Bermuda.
"Flag of convenience ships are notorious for breaching safety and environmental codes internationally," said the society's Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart.
"There are 4000 ships crossing the reef every year and we expect it will rise to around 7000 if all proposed port expansions proceed.
"It only takes one of those ships to have an accident to cause irreparable damage to the reef and the $6 billion tourism industry that relies on it."