Three charged over bulker route in Australia


TWO CREW members and the master of a bulker that allegedly entered restricted zones on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef face fines of up to A$220,000 ($210,000) if convicted.

A 63-year-old South Korean man and two Vietnamese men, aged 32 and 26, faced court in Townsville today. They were arrested on 10 April after the Australian Federal Police, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Maritime Safety Authority executed a search warrant on the 53,556dwt, Panamanian-flagged Mimosa berthed at Abbot Point Coal Terminal.

Navigational equipment and charts were seized after Mimosa entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on 4 April, one day after the grounding of coal ship Shen Neng 1 on the reef.

The AFP alleged that the vessel travelled through restricted areas, was not registered with the Reef Vessel Tracking System, failed to provide a pre-entry report and did not respond to contact attempts made by VTS.

The master has been charged with liability for a ship used in committing offence, while the others have been charged with conduct in zone that is conduct prohibited or done without required permission.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said it was important to prosecute crews of vessels that threatened the reef. “If we have any foreign vessel or any vessel violating the proper protection of the Great Barrier Reef, they should have the book thrown at them,” Rudd said.


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