$90m for Barrier Reef clean-up
The Australian government told a court yesterday that it was seeking at least $90 million from the owners of a Chinese coal ship that damaged part of the Great Barrier Reef. Shenzhen Energy Transport was fighting the clean-up bill in the Australian Federal Court for Douglas Shoal, which was damaged when the Shen Neng 1 went off course and grounded in April 2010. The Federal Court heard that the crash site was contaminated with hundreds of kilograms of paint particles tainted with tributyltin, a highly-toxic anti-fouling agent. Tributyltin slows the growth of aquatic organisms on ship hulls, and marine biologists say the particles need to be removed from the 100-acre crash site to allow the area to recover. The carrier’s owner says the reef is selfhealing and the company should not have to pay for a clean-up that was not needed. It also disputes the testing methods that led to the detection of tributyltin in the area. Shenzhen Energy Transport’s maritime insurer, London P&I Club, said the Australian government’s estimated costs of fixing the reef were unrealistic. Militants stormed a building housing an international aid organisation in Kabul, provoking an overnight firefight with security forces in which three gunmen and one civilian were killed. The attack took place a day after twin bombings near the Afghan Defence Ministry killed at least 24 people and wounded more than 90 others. Police special forces killed all three gunmen involved in an overnight attack in the Share Naw district of the Afghan capital, Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan interior minister said. One civilian was killed and six others were wounded as a result of the attack. An Interior Ministry statement said that a suicide car bombing struck close to a building belonging to the charity CARE International in Shar-e Naw on Monday night.