A 46-YEAR-OLD Chinese man will appear in court today for allegedly breaching shipping requirements in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Chang Quan Xu was the ship master of a Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier ship, the MV Charlotte Bulker, on March 6 when Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the man allegedly breached mandatory regulations in the marine park.
Police said the ship travelled in the Whitsundays Compulsory Pilotage Area without a pilot on board and also travelled outside the designated shipping lane.
The penalty for this offence for an individual is $11,000 or $55,000 for a body corporate. The incident was referred to the AFP by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Mr Xu will appear in the Gladstone Magistrate’s Court charged with offences committed against Section 59B(1) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
It is mandatory under marine park regulations to have a pilot on board vessels above 70m long or loaded chemical tankers in the Whitsunday Island Compulsory Pilotage Area due to the complexity of navigating the reef, traffic density, and high environmental value of the area.
The AFP said the principal risks of not having a pilot on board relate to the potential for ship grounding, ship collision and chemical and oil pollution.
In an unrelated incident, the Hong Kong-based and Swire Shipping-owned MV Pacific Adventurer lost its load of 31 containers that fell off the ship in cyclonic conditions on March 10.
By March 11, the cargo ship had spilled about 250,000 litres of oil off Cape Moreton, polluting about 60km of beaches north to Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast.
The Pacific Adventurer’s Captain Bernadino Santos had his passport seized and has agreed not to leave the ship as three different inquiries continue into the 250,000-litre spill that has swamped Moreton Island and some Sunshine Coast beaches.