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Chinese Freighter Causes Great Barrier Reef Damage April 16, 2010
Shen Neng 1
The Shen Neng 1 leaking oil and raking Australia's Great Barrier Reef after running aground.
Australian authorities arrested the crew of a Chinese freighter for gouging a two-mile scar across the Great Barrier Reef after taking an illegal shortcut across the World Heritage Site.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the grounding of the Shen Neng 1, which also leaked about two tons of fuel oil, an “absolute outrage.”

He promised to “throw the book” at the owners and crew of any other ship illegally cutting across the protected waters.

In some areas, all marine life has been completely flattened and the structure of the shoal has been pulverized by the weight of the vessel, according to the Great Barrier Reef’s chief scientist, David Wachenfeld.

It may take decades to recover from the type of paint that scraped off the Shen Neng 1 and onto coral beds.

The "anti-fouling" chemicals in the paint designed to prevent barnacles and other marine life from building up are now poisoning coral.

Photo: Queensland Maritime Safety