A master and the first officer of SW Shipping’s capesize bulk carrier Sea Coen have been fined for exiting a designated shipping area within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The two South Korean seafarers pleaded guilty to entering the 289 m long ship into a shipping exclusion zone through Palm Passage, offshore Townsville, and were both fined $40,000 and $35,000, respectively.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief executive officer Josh Thomas said the court outcome was a good example of enforcing compliance in the Marine Park.
“The Reef Authority places a very high priority on investigating breaches of laws that are designed to reduce the risk to the Reef from ships navigating within this World Heritage Area.
“Major shipping incidents can have catastrophic consequences for the environmental, cultural and economic values of the Great Barrier Reef, and vessel operators who flout the laws will be held to account,” said Thomas.
In the case of the Sea Coen, the actions of the master and first officer were found to have significantly increased the level of risk to the safe navigation of the ship through the Great Barrier Reef, although no major damage was caused.
The incident occurred in March 2022 and the fines incurred were ordered to be taken from the $45,000 cash bail held for each of the defendants. The 2005-built Sea Coen is owned by South Korea’s SW Shipping and operated by compatriot Polaris Shipping.