6 Apr 2010

Salvage crews board grounded ship

11:04 am on 6 April 2010

Salvage crews have boarded a grounded coal ship in the Great Barrier Reef off the central Queensland coast.

The Chinese bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 is wedged on a section of reef and has leaked four tonnes of oil in marine park waters.

Maritime safety experts say it will be another day before they can assess the full extent of damage and work out how to move the ship from the reef.

The ABC reports two tugboats are in place to stabilise the ship, off the east coast of Great Keppel Island.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says salvage experts will consider pumping oil from the damaged vessel.

She said damage is extensive to the engine, to the rudder and other parts of the ship.

Ms Bligh says more than 900 tonnes of oil is still on board the ship.

The BBC reports the carrier was 24km off course when it ran aground on Saturday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will inspect the scene from the air on Tuesday.

More damage

Meanwhile, Maritime Safety Queensland, says the coal carrier could break apart.

General manager Patrick Quirk says the ship is suffering further damage as it moves.