Captain of coal carrier that hit barrier reef fined $25,000

The captain of the Shen Neng 1 coal carrier that hit Douglas Shoal on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010 has been found ultimately liable even though he wasn't steering the ship at the time.
The captain of the Shen Neng 1 coal carrier that hit Douglas Shoal on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010 has been found ultimately liable even though he wasn't steering the ship at the time.

THE captain of the Shen Neng 1 which caused 'unprecedented' damage to the Great Barrier Reef has been ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

Ship master Jichang Wang mastered the coal carrier when it smashed into Douglas Shoal off the Rockhampton coast two years ago.

The ship spilt more than three tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the World Heritage area after travelling almost 30km off course.

In a controversial move, the stricken vessel was towed into Hervey Bay waters in May, 2010, and anchored off the northern beaches of Fraser Island to partially unload its cargo.

The 10-day coal off-loading operation was completed without environmental incident.

Wang pleaded guilty yesterday in Gladstone's Magistrates Court to a charge of causing damage to a marine park and has been ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

He was not required to appear in court.

Magistrate Mark Morrow said he took into account Jichang Wang was not steering the ship at the time but said he was ultimately liable as captain. Wang has 28 days to pay the fine.

The ship's second-in-charge, Xuegang Wang, is already serving a three-month prison sentence over the incident.

Topics:  fraser island great barrier reef hervey bay shen neng

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