Heavy Fine After Great Barrier Reef disaster, Chinese coal ship to pay...

Heavy Fine After Great Barrier Reef disaster, Chinese coal ship to pay $29m


The Australian government has agreed a $29.6m (£22m) resolution with the owners of a Chinese coal carrier that caused significant damage to the Great Barrier Reef more than six years past.

The Shen Neng 1 hit a shoal in April 2010, leaking tonnes of heavy fuel oil.

Conservationists have described the settlement, which is less than a third of the total cleaning cost of $105m (£80m), as “woefully inadequate”.

The clean-up operation will begin mid next year.

The 230m (750 feet) ship had grinded against a coral shoal for greater than a kilometre, turning coral into dust.

The firm behind the carrier, Shenzhen Energy Transport, refused to accept responsibility.

They claimed the reef was self healing and the firm should not have to pay the bill.

On Monday, the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement.

The resolution showed Australia would “use every available means to pursue ship owners who are negligent in causing damage to the reef”, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

The funds will allow the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to remove toxic anti fouling paint and rubble, letting the reef to be restored.

However, Greenpeace Australia called the resolution “disappointing”.

“The government has said the complete clean up will cost more than $105m so to settle for this type of small amount is unsatisfactory,” Greenpeace’s Pacific reef campaigner Shani Tager told news agency AFP.