Now that the immediate crisis is receding the investigation can begin. The real question is why the ship was even in that area, since there are established sea lanes where large tankers can get through the reef safely. "Safely" here is roughly equivalent to "without getting their hulls sliced open likes cans of sardines, spilling their oil and thereby devastating a natural wonder of such staggering size and beauty that it can be seen from outer space." Look for the ship's owners to be fined somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars for taking liberties with maritime laws and GPS systems.
Unfortunately these kinds of accidents, in that part of the world, are only going to become more common. The ship was transporting 72,000 tons of coal from Queensland to China, and it was trying to do it as quickly as possible. Without getting too deeply into geopolitics, China needs cheap energy and will cut just about any environmental or diplomatic corner to get it. We don't want to start off your week by reminding you that you have to travel as much as possible and see as much as you can, lest natural and historical treasures get destroyed before you ever visit them. But... yeah.
[Photo: Australian Maritime Safety Authority]
· Coal freighter rams Great Barrier Reef, spilling oil into pristine waters [AFP]
· Queensland Travel [Jaunted]
· Australia Travel [Jaunted]