A damaged ship carrying close to 70 000 tonnes of coal is being moved from the Great Barrier Reef to Brisbane.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued an order for the ship to be moved to Brisbane, where it will be unloaded and repaired, the ABC reports.
The Liberian registered Newlead Venetico was forced to anchor off Mackay after inspectors found a crack in its hull.
The AMSA forced the move after concerns were raised that the partially loaded ship would become too unstable as wild weather was forecast.
The Greens, upon finding out about the cracked hull, immediately raised fears over a potential coal spill.
"The idea that this vessel may be allowed to leave for China with only a temporary slap and patch fix is disgraceful, and could pose a grave risk to our World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef," Greens senator Larissa Waters said.
"As we’ve seen with recent ship spills off the coasts of New Zealand and Christmas Island, just one grounding can be an ecological disaster for the entire area.
"If we continue with the Government’s plan to turn the Great Barrier Reef into a coal and gas highway, we will risk the health and World Heritage status of our Reef for fossil fuel exports."
Authorities are reportedly unsure of what to do with the coal once it is unloaded in Brisbane.