There has been a great deal of controversy since the Shen Neng 1 hit the Douglas Shoal last Saturday. The ship, owned by Cosco (China’s largest shipping company) was found several nautical miles from the shipping lanes, in a prohibited zone, and carrying 950 tonnes of oil on board. The fuel tank has been ruptured and has currently been “plugged”.
Measures have been taken to minimize the environmental effects, but the reasons why the shift drifted so far off course and the two-hour delay to notify the Australian authorities has raised more than a few eyebrows. Federal investigators are now inquiring if the first mate was snoozing on duty, which would be a reasonable explanation for the drift and delay.

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