Thursday, April 15, 2010

Great Barrier Reef ship crash was not reported for hour and a half

James Meikle in the Guardian (UK): Maritime investigators are examining why the captain of a Chinese coal ship that ploughed into the Great Barrier Reef leaving a two-mile scar up to 250 metres wide did not alert Australian authorities for an hour and a half. A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the Shen Neng 1 hit the reef and came to a shuddering stop just after 5pm on 3 April but the captain did not report it until 6.40pm.

Experts said the damage to coral may take 20 years to heal although oil that spilled out of the ship's hull had largely dispersed. Some is thought to be washing up on the beach of a wildlife sanctuary. The captain and chief officer of the ship appeared briefly at Gladstone magistrates court in Queensland and were bailed.

Jichang Wang, 47, the captain, is charged with liability for a vessel causing damage in a marine park, an offence carrying a maximum fine of A$55,000 (£33,250). Xuegang Wang, 44, said to have been in charge of the vessel when it hit the reef, faces a maximum three years' imprisonment and a fine of $220,000…..

NASA shot of the Great Barrier Reef

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