A Chinese coal ship is spilling its oil onto Australia’s icon Great Barrier Reef:
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says she wants authorities to “throw the book” at the owners of the Chinese coal ship spilling oil into the pristine waters around the Great Barrier Reef.
“It sounds like the plot of a disaster movie!” according to Geoff Sidebottom of Views from Towradgi (Comments from the Australian city of Wollongong on local and world events). His sentiments have been shared around the country:
… beaches on the Queensland coast and nearby Great Keppel island will be damaged – and our vital tourist industry will be threatened.
This ship was fifteen miles off course outside the shipping lane. Either incompetence or a lack of local knowledge could have been prevented had an experienced pilot been at the helm.
Surely a requirement that must be immediately implemented for all Barrier reef shipping !
Brian, at group blog Larvatus Prodeo, reminded us that:
A little over a year ago there was a major oil spill off the coast of SE Queensland when the Pacific Adventurer ran aground  spewing 270 tonnes of oil across the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Island. Now a Chinese ship, the Shen Neng 1, plowed at full stem into a reef about 120km east of Rockhampton on the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
Australian Senate candidate Larissa Waters is very clear about what The Greens want:
Marine pilots should be compulsory for carriers navigating the entire inner Great Barrier Reef, and industry should bear the full cost of pollution clean ups, said the Greens today as an unknown amount of oil leaks from a coal carrier off Great Keppel Island.
The Great Barrier Reef is not a coal highway, it is a multibillion dollar tourism icon and biodiversity wonder which government should do its utmost to protect.
Instead Government is bending over backwards to increase exports of fossil fuels, rather than investing in job rich clean renewable energy which safeguards our Reef.
The ruckus was picked up across the Pacific. In the U.S. the liberal Irregular Times (News Unfit to Print) drew obvious parallels with local developments:
Barack Obama is supporting Sarah Palin’s goofy Drill Baby Drill agenda of expanded offshore drilling. He says we shouldn’t worry, that there probably won’t be a big accident any time soon…
…a big accident like the one today in which a big tanker carrying coal rammed into the Great Barrier Reef. Some fuel oil was spilled, but if the tanker had been carrying crude oil, the results of the accident would have been even worse.
We can only be thankful that this time it was a coal ship not an oil tanker.