Captain arrested over Great Barrier Reef charge

A Chinese coal ship captain has been arrested for sailing through the Great Barrier Reef without a pilot.

The ABC reported the captain was arrested by Australian Federal Police on Saturday, and his case will be heard today in Newcastle.

Captain Lu will plead guilty to the charge of being master of a ship without a pilot in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which carries a maximum fine of $85,000.

It was alleged the bulk carrier Chinese Steel Developer sailed through Hydrographers Passage, near Mackay, on New Year’s Day.

In 2010 the Shang Neng 1 was involved in a similar offense, which resulted in the ship running aground and carving a 400,000 square metre scar in the coral beds near Douglas Shoal, as well as leaving a four kilometre-long oil slick.

Since then coral regrowth has been hampered by toxic anti-fouling paint, according to the GBRMPA.

The Shang Neng’s first mate served three month in prison over the incident, while the master was fined $25,000.

Image: Thamesshipsociety

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