SW Maritime’s capsize bulk carrier Sea Coen’s master and first officer were fined for leaving a defined shipping area within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The two South Korean mariners pleaded guilty to entering a shipping exclusion zone via Palm Passage, off the coast of Townsville, and were fined $40,000 and $35,000, respectively.

Josh Thomas, chief executive officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said the court decision was an 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.

The acts of the master and first officer aboard the Sea Coen were deemed to have greatly raised the level of danger to the ship’s safe navigation through the Great Barrier Reef, despite the fact that no severe damage was incurred.

The incident occurred in March 2022, and the fines were ordered to be deducted from each defendant’s $45,000 cash bond. The 2005-built Sea Coen is owned by SW Shipping in South Korea and operated by Polaris Shipping in the same country.

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