Arrests Made in Great Barrier Reef Grounding

Australian authorities have arrested the Chinese captain and chief officer on watch during the April 3rd grounding of the Shen Neng 1 on the Great Barrier Reef.  According to a release by the Australian Federal Police (AFP):

The master of the vessel, a 47-year-old Chinese man has been charged with liability for vessel causing damage in Marine Park, contrary to section 38FC of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. The maximum penalty for this offence is a $55,000 fine.

A 44-year-old Chinese man has been charged with person in charge of vessel within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, causing damage to the Marine Park, contrary to section 38DA of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. The maximum penalty for this offence is three years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine.

Investigators found that the vessel failed to turn at a way point required by the intended course of the ship.  The men will appear in Gladstone Court tomorrow.

The Shen Neng 1 was refloated Monday night following a three day salvage operation.  Officials who have inspected the surrounding area say the ship caused serious damage to the reef which could take up to 20 years to recover.

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