Shen Neng 1 Owners Go to Court over GBR Damage

Photo: AMSA

The Commonwealth of Australia has taken legal actions in the Federal Court against Shenzhen Energy, after its ship Shen Neng 1 run aground on the Great Barrier Reef, causing a severe damage to the reef.

The proceeding has been listed for trial for 15 days starting in April 2016 in Brisbane.

On April 3, 2010, the Chinese-registered bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 caused the largest known direct impact on a coral reef by a ship grounding.

When the ship ran aground at Douglas Shoal, north-east of Gladstone, it damaged an area covering 0.4 square kilometres — of which 115,000 square metres of the shoal were severely damaged or destroyed.

It also left toxic anti-fouling paint on the reef and on substantial areas of loose coral rubble created by the grounding.

However, despite ongoing attempts to have the ship’s owner pay for damages, the Commonwealth was unsuccessful in securing funds from the ship’s owner or its insurer to clean-up and remediate the site.

The Commonwealth is seeking damages from the ship’s owner for the cost of remediation of the shoal or, as an alternative, orders requiring remediation of the shoal by the ship’s owner.

GBRMPA has continued to closely monitor the state of the shoal and to assess what is required for recovery of the shoal.

GBRMPA’s first priority in remediating the shoal would be to attempt to remove the remaining anti-fouling paint and residue. This would allow some natural recovery processes to begin.

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