"Freighters Take Reef Short Cut To Save Money"

"The Chinese coal ship that ran onto the Great Barrier Reef was one of dozens of freighters to have taken a legal short cut between dangerous shoals this year, satellite images show.

A shallow channel between Douglas Shoal and North Reef off the Queensland coast - the navigation of which is equivalent to threading a needle - has become a regular route for cargo carriers trying to shave time and money off their voyages.

But Douglas Shoal, where the 230-metre Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Saturday, is outside the known short cut and surrounded by a three nautical-mile prohibited zone for cargo ships."

Saffron Howden, Tom Arup and Ben Cubby report for the Sydney Morning Herald April 7, 2010.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010