Coal transport accidents in Australia

From Global Energy Monitor

AS the volume of coal mined and exported has increased, so too have the number of coal transport accidents.


Coal transport accidents in Australia include the:

  • Shen Neng 1 bulk carrier crashing into the Great Barrier Reef: On 3 April 2010, Shen Neng 1 was transiting from Gladstone, Queensland to China carrying a cargo of 65,000 tonnes of coal, she ran aground 70km off Great Keppel Island, Australia.[1] At the time of the grounding, Shen Neng 1 was reported to have been travelling at full speed. She was severely damaged on her port side, and a 3 km long oil slick was later reported to have been seen.[2] The ship's engine and rudder were damaged in the grounding.[3] The ship went aground 5.8 nautical miles outside the shipping lane.[4] It is in a restricted area which forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO.[1]
Shen Neng 1 was refloated on 12 April 2010, after forecasts of bad weather meant that the salvage operation was brought forward. There were reports that large areas of the coral reef were damaged by the ship.[5] On 14 April, the captain and officer on watch at the time of the accident were arrested. They were charged and appeared in court on 15 April.[6]
Two investigations have been opened into the grounding. The investigations are being conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).[3] Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said that the Government of Queensland would be investigating why the ship was so far off route.[1] It was reported that the ship's owner could be fined A$1,000,000 and Shen Neng 1's captain $220,000.[2]
The preliminary investigation has found fatigue as the major contributor to the grounding. Prior to the grounding there was no checks to ensure fatigue was minimized by the governing authorities (AMSA).[7] A news story claimed that the ship was attempting to take a shortcut when it ran aground.[8]
  • Pasha Bulker coal ship runs aground at Newcastle, Australia: In June 2007 the MV Pasha Bulker ran aground during a major storm on 8 June 2007 on Nobbys Beach in Newcastle, New South Wales. It was refloated and moved to a safe location offshore on 2 July 2007 at 9:48 p.m. AEST before being towed to Japan for major repairs on 26 July 2007. Early on the morning of 8 June 2007, Newcastle Port Corporation radioed the 56 moored ships waiting off the coast to load coal to warn them to move out to sea to escape the approaching storm.[9] The Pasha Bulker, along with 10 other ships, did not heed the warning. As the storm hit, the Pasha Bulker could not clear the coast and it became beached at 9:15am. The ship never called for tug assistance, ran aground with a fully operational engine room and still had both anchors stored in the hawsepipes leading some maritime experts to believe that proper precautions were not taken by the ship's captain.
The ship was empty of any cargo at the time, waiting to load 58,000 tonnes of coal from Newcastle Port.[10] However, it contained around 700 tonnes of fuel oil, 38 tonnes of diesel and 40 tonnes of lube oil, which if released could have caused a local ecological problem.[citation needed]
The ship was successfully towed off the reef on the third attempt at approximately 9:37pm AEST on 2 July 2007. By 9:41pm it was 500m offshore.[11] It was then held 11 nautical miles from the Newcastle shoreline and inspected by divers for oil spills and to determine the extent of the hull damage. The Pasha Bulker left the port of Newcastle on 26 July 2007. Four kilometres out to sea the Japanese salvage tug Koyo Maru connected lines to the Pasha Bulker for it to be towed back to Japan. Metal beams could be seen reinforcing the buckled hull, as these were part of the temporary repair solution affixed at Newcastle.[12]
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released a report into the grounding, which includes analysis of port capacity controls, bridge audio recordings, radar tracks, ships logs, weather and other ship movements at the time. It identifies several safety issues.[13]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Great Barrier Reef oil disaster fear from stricken ship". BBC News Online. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Owens, Jared (5 April 2010). "Leaking ship's owners face $1m fine". The Australian. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Stranded ship 'time bomb' to Great Barrier Reef". Alert Net (Reuters). 5 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  4. "Grounding of the Ship Shen Neng 1" (PDF). Australiam Maritime Safety Authority. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  5. Bryant, Nick (13 April 2010). "China ship 'seriously damaged' Great Barrier Reef". BBC News, Sydney. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  6. "Australia arrests Chinese crewmen over reef ship". New Straits Times. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  7. "Marine Safety Investigation Report - Preliminary". Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  8. "Ancient species discovered in Barrier Reef depths". AFP. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  9. Ben Cubby and Edmund Tadros (9 June 2007). "Ships ignored warning to leave". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. AAP (9 June 2007). "Salvage team boards beached ship". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. "Pasha Bulker free at last". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 July 2007.
  12. "Pasha Bulker takes a final bow". The Newcastle Herald. 27 July 2007.
  13. "ATSB releases final Pasha Bulker report". 23 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-25.;
    "Independent investigation into the grounding of the Panamanian registered bulk carrier Pasha Bulker on Nobbys Beach, Newcastle, New South Wales on 8 June 2007". 23 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-25.

Related articles

External resources

External articles

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