Shen Neng coal carrier captain fined $25,000

Captain Jichang Wang has been fined $25,000 after the coal carrying ship he was in charge of ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef two years ago.

Travelling almost 30km from its designated course, the ship hit the Douglas Shoal off the Rockhampton coast in North Queensland.

The accident caused 'unprecedented' damage when more than three tonnes of oil was leaked into the World Heritage area.

The Morning Bulletin reported Wang pleaded guilty yesterday in Gladstone's Magistrates Court to a charge of causing damage to a marine park and was ordered to pay the fine within 28 days.

Magistrate Mark Morrow said he took into account Jichang Wang was not at the helm at the time of the accident, although still deemed him liable for the fault.

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

Australian Mining reported earlier this year the Liberian registered Newlead Venetico vessel, which was carrying more than 67 000 tonnes of coal had been discovered to have a cracked hull.

The ship, anchored off Hay Point near Mackay, had already raised concerns with the Greens who called for the ship to be emptied immediately and permanent repairs to be carried out before it headed to China.

"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 at the time.

"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.” Waters said.

Image: news.com.au

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