Pattaya Daily News

05 April 2010 :: 16:04:50 pm 17612

Coal Tanker Slams Into Great Barrier Reef Leaking Fuel Oil

The Chinese coal carrier, ‘Shen Neng 1,’ rammed into the Australian Great Barrier Reef late Saturday, 38 nautical miles east of Great Keppel Island in the southern part of the protected maritime region. The vessel has now begun leaking a small quantity of its 300,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the pristine waters.
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Australia, the 4th of April 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Strong ocean currents on Monday battered the stranded vessel, raising fears that further oil would be leaked into the water or even cause the ship to break apart spilling both heavy fuel oil and its coal cargo into the marine park.

Australian officials have sent another tugboat out to the ship to help keep the vessel from grinding up against the reef in the strong currents. Salvage workers have managed to successfully contain the fuel leak with the use of a floating boom.

Maritime Safety Officials have warned that if the ship is broken in two, some 300,000 gallons of fuel oil and 65,000 tonnes of coal would spill into the marine reserve. Maritime Safety General Manager Patrick Quirk said in a statement; “One of the most worrying aspects is that the ship is still moving on the reef due to the action of the seas, which is doing further damage.”

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for more than 1,800 miles and is a United Nations World Heritage site, international shipping lanes stretch the entire length of the eastern coast of Australia but the area in which the Chinese vessel has become stranded is miles outside any of these designated channels. Federal authorities said they would launch an investigation into why the coal carrier had ventured inside a restricted zone of the marine park, far from any of the shipping channels.

Experts predict that it could take up to several weeks to salvage the stricken vessel, with reports stating that the ships engine room had been breached in the accident and the rudder seriously damaged.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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