Shenzhen ET in legal fight with Australia

Legal procedures have begun between the Australian Federal Government in Canberra and the Chinese government-owned Shenzhen Energy Transport over what has been termed the worst Great Barrier Reef grounding ever.

Bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on the reef at Douglas Shoal on April 3rd 2010 when it was six miles outside the shipping lane. Its fuel tanks were punctured, leaking four tonnes of oil into the ocean. It was refloated 12 days later. Six years later repair works to fix a near two-mile hull coating scar left on the coral are still to begin.

The site is said to be contaminated with hundreds of kilograms of paint particles tainted with highly toxic anti-fouling agent TBT. Shenzhen Energy Transport claims that the reef is self-healing. It has asked the court to cap the damages bill at A$23m. The Commonwealth has told the court it estimates it will cost A$120m to fix the reef. Shenzhen Energy Transport’s insurer, London P&I Club, said that the Australian government’s estimated costs of fixing the reef were unrealistic. Shenzhen Energy Transport asserts that the six-year delay has added to the cost.