Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Oil May Hit Yeppoon Coastline Tomorrow

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Oil May Hit Yeppoon Coastline Tomorrow

Article excerpt

Byline: Melinda Siegmeier melinda.siegmeier@capnews.com.au

IT'S possible oil leaking from a grounded Chinese bulk coal carrier stuck on the Great Barrier Reef could hit the Yeppoon coastline by tomorrow afternoon.

Rockhampton Regional Council mayor Brad Carter said it was a aworst case scenarioa but yesterday he was planning for that grim outlook.

The vessel Shen Neng 1 ran aground about 70km east of Great Keppel Island just after 5pm on Saturday.

It is carrying about 65,000 tonnes of coal and 975 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, which is slowly leaking.

It was travelling at full speed in a restricted area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, more than 13 nautical miles off course, when it hit Douglas Shoal.

Although it's not known if oil will definitely hit the shores, it is likely to impact on Shoalwater Bay, which is a national park area.

Cr Carter said the incident was of major concern to him and he would be asking questions.

"When the dust settles it needs to be asked why was a ship of this size carrying cargo so off course?a Cr Carter said. "It's a global company and they need to be held responsible for their actions a the full force of the law needs to be applied in this case.

"It could have serious consequences for the future resources industry. We need to make sure this does not happen again."

Yesterday professional salvagers were onboard Shen Neng 1 to begin the process of salvaging as fears grow stronger about the vessel breaking up.

If it does break up, it will be a major environmental disaster a dumping the entire coal and fuel load into the sea.

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) general manager Patrick Quirk said the initial damage report suggested the main engine room was breached, the main engine damaged and the rudder seriously damaged.

Yesterday a tug boat was used to keep the vessel from grinding against the reef and a floating boom will be put in place by this morning. …

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