Authorities Eye Sleeping Mate as Cause of Shen Neng 1 Grounding

After viewing the AIS data yesterday showing the course of the Shen Neng 1 before it ran aground on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, it’s no surprise that reports are starting to circulate that a dozing first mate may have been the cause of the incident. Tradewinds tells us:

Federal investigators are exploring whether the first mate of the stricken 70,000-dwt Shen Neng 1 (built 1993) was asleep while on duty as the bulker rammed the reef at full speed this weekend, reports say.

Interviews with the crew are taking place today with the alertness of the first mate both before and at the time of the crash one focus, says The Australian newspaper.

The development came as prime minister Kevin Rudd revealed the master of the Shen Neng 1, Captain Wang Jichang, could face jail if he is found to have breached any laws.

Rudd, in an interview with national radio, also said the ship’s owner could be hit with a fine of up to AUD 5.5m ($5.08m).

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