Australia has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Chinese-registered bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 to recover damages stemming from the ship’s grounding in the Great Barrier Reef in 2010.
Despite ongoing attempts to have the ship’s owner pay for damages, the government was unsuccessful in securing funds from the ship owner or its insurer to clean-up and remediate the site.
The court proceeding has been listed for trial for 15 days commencing in April 2016 in the Federal Court in Brisbane.
Australia is seeking damages for the cost of remediation of the Douglas shoal or, as an alternative, orders requiring remediation of the shoal by the ship’s owner.
When the ship ran aground at Douglas Shoal, north-east of Gladstone, it damaged an area covering 0.4 square kilometres — leaving 115,000 square metres of the shoal severely damaged or destroyed, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
The bulker also left toxic anti-fouling paint on the reef and on substantial areas of loose coral rubble created by the grounding.
GBRMPA has continued to closely monitor the state of the shoal and to assess what is required for recovery of the shoal. The first priority in remediating the shoal would be to attempt to remove the remaining anti-fouling paint and residue. This would allow some natural recovery processes to begin.