Ocean Emperor Drifts toward Great Barrier Reef

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As of July 27, 11.45 a.m., the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a maritime casualty response in the Coral Sea for the fully loaded bulk coal carrier Ocean Emperor, in liaison with Maritime Safety Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Ocean Emperor is currently situated approximately 130 kilometres east of Cooktown off the outer Great Barrier Reef, and is drifting slowly westwards towards the reef. As the ship has broken down and drifted several times over the last few weeks, she was being escorted out of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by the tug PB Karori. The ship most recently broke down north east of Bougainville Reef at 2:00am (AEST) Monday 26 July.

The PB Karori has now been released as the Ocean Emperor is safely clear of the Bougainville Reef and AMSA's emergency towage vessel (ETV) Pacific Responder is due on scene shortly (around midday AEST). It is expected that a tow line will be connected to the ship this afternoon to stop it from drifting any closer to the reef.

The salvage tug Wonga, also a contracted ETV, is proceeding to the scene and should reach the ship on Wednesday morning. An AMSA Surveyor is also on standby to attend if necessary.

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