Shortcut through the Great Barrier Reef results in fine for Chinese crew of the Signe Bulker

Hong Kong-based bulk carrier, Signe Bulker, took a wrong turn over the weekend while transiting the Great Barrier reef and ended up in hot water with Australian authorities.

While enroute to the northeastern Australia port town of Gladstone, the Signe Bulker cut through the Capricorn-Bunker group of islands making up part of the Great Barrier Reef.  Since the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act of 1975, this island group has had a very distinct shipping-exclusion zone drawn around them, one that was blatantly crossed by the Signe Bulker.

In the Gladstone Magistrates Court, the ship’s officers pleaded guilty for entering a restricted zone and were fined a total of $53,000.

This same area was damaged in 2010 when the coal-carrying ship Shen Neng 1 strayed from the shipping lane and ran aground on Douglas Shoal spilling fuel oil and costing insurers $4MM.