Australia: Crewmen fined for taking freighter on dangerous shortcut through Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

THREE overseas sailors who "rat ran" a coal freighter through sensitive parts of the Great Barrier Reef have each been fined $70,000.

Gang Chun Han, 63, the South Korean master of the Panama-flagged MV Mimosa, and the officers, Tran Tan Thanh, 32, and Nguyen Van Sang, 26, both from Vietnam, all pleaded guilty in Townsville Magistrates Court to breaching the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act.

Instead of following shipping lanes through the reef, the ship was piloted on an unapproved route that put it  alongside coral reefs.

The incident occured on April 4, the day after the Chinese registered Shen Neng 1 strayed off a recognised shipping route off Gladstone and grounded on Douglas Shoal, spilling oil.

Ships of more than 50m in length are not allowed to enter protected areas on the reef under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, and the Mimosa is 189m long.

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