15 Apr 2011

Fatigue blamed for Great Barrier Reef oil spill

9:52 am on 15 April 2011

In Australia, an inquiry into the grounding of a Chinese bulk carrier on the Great Barrier Reef has found fatigue was a major factor in the incident.

The Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng 1 hit Douglas Shoal, east of Rockhampton on 3 April 2010, seriously damaging its hull and spilling tonnes of oil into the sea off the Queensland coast.

The ABC reports the inquiry by the Transport Safety Bureau heard that the ship's chief mate had only 2½ hours sleep in the 38½ hours before the accident and that he made a succession of errors which led to the incident.

In in its final report, the bureau made four recommendations, two of them relating to the ship's management of safety issues and fatigue.