Foreign vessel crew fined for breach of Great Barrier Reef shipping rules

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

Two crew of a foreign registered bulk carrier ship have been fined a total $75,000 for breaching shipping rules in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The master and first officer of the 289-metre Sea Coen pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court to charges under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act.

It had been alleged the vessel entered the reef lagoon through Palm Passage, offshore of Townsville in March this year, an area designated as a shipping exclusion zone.

The Sea Coen is a 17-year-old bulk carrier, currently registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands, an independent republic in the north-west Pacific.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority CEO, Josh Thomas, welcomed the court result as a good example of enforcing compliance in the Marine Park.

“It demonstrated the strong collaboration between management agencies, as the Reef Authority was notified about this incident through the Reef Vessel Tracking Services operated by Maritime Safety Queensland.

“Having access to technology like vessel tracking services ensures we can act swiftly to prevent serious incidents from damaging the Marine Park.

“We place a very high priority on investigating breaches of laws designed to reduce the risk to the Reef from ships navigating within this World Heritage Area.”