When coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground in April 2010, it caused extensive damage to Douglas Shoal. With an impact area of more than 40 hectares, the site bears the largest ship grounding scar known in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and possibly the largest reef-related impact in the world.
Remediation of Douglas Shoal
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority negotiated an out-of-court settlement with the owners and insurers of Shen Neng 1.
The Marine Park Authority was awarded $35 million to clean up the site.
The project will address:
- Contamination caused by the ship’s anti-fouling paint
- Rubble created as the ship ground across the shoal
- The flattening of the shoal’s natural bumps and crevices that are habitat for plants and animals.
Planning is underway, with clean-up works expected in 2021 and 2022. These timeframes may change, depending on the outcomes of the planning process.
Difficult sea conditions frequently experienced at Douglas Shoal mean the clean-up must be carefully planned, for the safety of workers and for the protection of the environment. Even after the clean-up is finished, it may take many decades for the shoal to fully recover.
Douglas Shoal is located about 90 kilometres northeast of Gladstone and 45 kilometres northwest of Heron Island, in the sea country of the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Byellee and Tarebilang Bunda people.
It is a large, flat-topped shoal that supports abundant fish life and protected species such as sea snakes and marine turtles. Undamaged parts of the shoal are covered by a variety of algae mixed with soft and hard corals.
Traditional Owner participation
Sea rangers from Gidarjil Development Corporation have been supporting project activities. This ensures the project understands and respects the Traditional Owner values of the area. A core objective of the project is to contribute to meaningful opportunities for Traditional Owner participation.
Documents and reports
All of our published documents and reports about the Shen Neng 1 grounding can be found online.