STIRRED UP: Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng 1 tries to break free from grounding on Douglas Shoal.
STIRRED UP: Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng 1 tries to break free from grounding on Douglas Shoal. FILE

Canberra to sue coal ship for costs to fix oil spill on reef

THE Federal Government will take to court the owners of the Shen Neng 1 coal ship that ran aground on Douglas Shoal near Gladstone in 2010 to recover the costs of the damage.

More than five years on from the grounding, negotiations with the owners to pay for the damage caused have failed.

The grounding spread toxic anti-fouling paints in the area and damaged about 400,000sqm of the shoal, with about 115,000sq m "severely damaged or destroyed".

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief executive Russell Reichelt said it was a "great disappointment" that efforts to recover costs from the ship's owner and insurance firm had failed.

He said the authority remained concerned about the long-term health of the shoal because of the nature and scale of the damage, and the government now had "no

alternative but to take legal action".

Mr Reichelt said the Commonwealth was seeking damages for the cost of remediation of the shoal, and the authority's first priority would be to try to remove the remaining anti-fouling paint and residue.

A trial has been listed for 15 days of hearings in the

Federal Court in April next year.


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