The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the 3 April grounding of the Chinese flagged bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 at Douglas Shoal off the Queensland coast.

Shen Neng 1 was bound for China before grounding on the reef around 36 nautical miles east of Great Keppel Island. The ship has sustained damage to a number of its water ballast and fuel tanks.

The ATSB sent three marine investigators to Gladstone, Queensland on Sunday to begin the onsite phase of the investigation. The investigators have already interviewed people ashore and collected evidence. They will board the ship today to collect further evidence and interview crew members.

A preliminary ATSB investigation report will be released in around 28 days outlining the facts as known up to that time. A full report will be released after the investigation is completed.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has a casualty coordinator on board the ship and a salvor has been appointed to assess the salvage operation. Three tugs and oil spill response vessels are at the scene.

The ATSB will work closely with AMSA, Maritime Safety Queensland, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority while conducting the investigation.

The ATSB is the Commonwealth's no-blame transport safety investigation agency. It investigates safety occurrences in the aviation, marine and rail sectors with an emphasis on identifying safety issues and improving safety. The ATSB does not investigate for the purpose of taking administrative, regulatory or criminal action.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
Last update 01 April 2011