Remediation Project on Great Barrier Reef Moves Forward
Following one of the world’s worst ship groundings, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is now entering the next phase of the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project and plans to start a procurement process this year to engage a remediation contractor.
Douglas Shoal sits 90 kilometres off the north-eastern coast of Australia, near the major port of Gladstone. The Douglas Shoal Remediation Project will address antifouling paint contamination and extensive, unconsolidated rubble caused by the grounding of the fully-laden bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 in 2010.
With a footprint of more than 40 hectares, this is the largest ship grounding scar known in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and possibly the world. The primary objective of the AUD $35 million project is to support natural recovery of the shoal.
A site assessment undertaken in 2019 provided more information on site conditions and refined the areas of remediation priority. Ten years after the grounding incident, contamination and rubble continue to impede natural recovery. A recently completed options analysis identified and assessed a range of remediation methods in consideration of project objectives.
Priority remediation areas have been refined down to approximately 10 hectares in total. These areas have variable features such as channels, flat expanses, small gullies and holes, which are affected by rubble or contamination. The options analysis indicated that removal of rubble and contamination is likely to be the most appropriate remediation option, although the project remains open to considering non-removal methods.
The project is looking for innovative technology to meet the highest environmental standards, given the sensitive location in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Further information including project updates, opportunities and technical reports are available on the project web page here.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.