When coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground in April 2010, it caused extensive damage to Douglas Shoal. With an impact area of more than 40 hectares, the site bears the largest ship grounding scar known in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and possibly the largest reef-related impact in the world.
Remediation of Douglas Shoal
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority negotiated an out-of-court settlement with the owners and insurers of Shen Neng 1. The Marine Park Authority was awarded $35 million to clean up the site.
- The project will address:
- Contamination caused by the ship’s anti-fouling paint
- Rubble created as the ship ground across the shoal
Planning is underway, with clean-up works expected in 2023. These timeframes may change depending on the outcomes of the planning process.
Difficult sea conditions frequently experienced at Douglas Shoal mean the clean-up must be carefully planned for workers' safety and the environment's protection. Even after the clean-up is finished, the shoal may take many decades to recover fully.
Douglas Shoal is located about 90 kilometres northeast of Gladstone and 45 kilometres northwest of Heron Island, in the sea country of the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Byellee and Tarebilang Bunda people.
It is a large, flat-topped shoal that supports abundant fish life and protected species such as sea snakes and marine turtles. Undamaged parts of the shoal are covered by a variety of algae mixed with soft and hard corals.
Traditional Owner participation
Sea rangers from Gidarjil Development Corporation have been supporting project activities. This ensures the project understands and respects the Traditional Owner values of the area.
A core objective of the project is to contribute to meaningful opportunities for Traditional Owner participation.
After a comprehensive procurement process, the Reef Authority executed a contract for remediation services with Boskalis Australia Pty Ltd (Boskalis) for $15,992,125 million (GST exclusive).
Boskalis is a leading global dredging contractor and marine services provider. They offer a unique combination of experts, vessels, and services.
Maintaining the highest safety and sustainability standards. Boskalis was selected following a comprehensive procurement process.
- The key remediation activities and timeframes are:
- Preparation of the Gladstone Ports Corporation site to receive sediment and water from Douglas Shoal will commence in March 2023.
- Offshore remediation activities at Douglas Shoal will be conducted for 2 weeks commencing in the period June ‐ September 2023.
- Onshore activities at the Port of Gladstone will commence in March 2023 and be completed by 31 December 2023.
A reactive monitoring program will be implemented during remediation works at Douglas Shoal to validate the assumptions that were used in the modelling of the dredging campaign and to effectively manage potential impacts on the biota of Douglas Shoal (i.e., through adaptive management processes).
The Project has implemented an environmental monitoring program that will monitor potential environmental impacts associated with the remediation works at Douglas Shoal.
Chemical, physical, and biological monitoring has been undertaken prior to remediation works commencing and will continue for up to five years following remediation works.
Information obtained from this program will inform future offshore remediation works on coral reefs worldwide.
The Project team has actively engaged with the Traditional Owners of Douglas Shoal (First Nations Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda Peoples represented by the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust Limited and Gidarjil Development Corporation).
The contract between the Reef Authority and Boskalis contains an Indigenous Engagement and Employment Participation Plan, which includes a fee-for-service agreement with the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust Limited and Gidarjil Development Corporation to provide goods, services, sponsorships, and Traditional Owners’ knowledge to the Project.
Clarification Notice 4 - 13 January 2020
- Recent modifications to the DSRP Data Hub include:
- The addition of 33 Towed Underwater Video (TUV) transect files captured during the benthic survey campaign in June 2019 by Advisian Pty Ltd. These videos are available via a hyperlink attached to each of the TUV start points.
- The addition of a dataset indicating the location of seabed depressions, sandy holes and gutters. These depressions may contain rubble created by the vessel grounding forming a ‘sink’ for rubble and contaminated sediment under normal oceanic conditions and a ‘source’ for this material during storms and large long period waves.
- The Douglas Shoal Measurements Dashboard has been removed from the set of applications in the Data Hub. It may be replaced by another theme-based spatial application depending on future requirements.
The spatial information available in Douglas Shoal Remediation Data Hub should be viewed in conjunction with the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project: site assessment report 2019 developed by Neale, S.J.; Boylson, B.D.; Advisian Pty Ltd.
The Authority encourages all registered users to access the Data Hub regularly to ensure that they have all relevant data to support the preparation of their proposals.
Clarification Notice 3 – 24 August 2020
In accordance with para 3, s6.6 of the Request for Expressions of Interest Brief for the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Authority) wishes to notify all registered users of recent modifications to the geospatial data internet application (Data Hub).
- Modifications to the DSRP Data Hub include:
- The addition of 211 underwater video panoramic files captured at the benthic sediment sampling locations during the sampling campaign undertaken in March 2019. These videos are available via a hyperlink attached to each sediment sampling point in the Douglas Shoal Explorer application and the Measurements Dashboard application.
- The Measurements Dashboard application was updated to show statistical information relating to sediment characteristics and Tributyltin contamination. Note that this information must be viewed in conjunction with the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project: site assessment report 2019 developed by Neale, S.J.; Boylson, B.D.; Advisian Pty Ltd.
- A new menu item called ‘News and Updates’ has been added to the Data Hub landing page. As additional applications and relevant data are added to the Hub, the ‘News and Updates page with being amended
- Various functional and navigational enhancements are aimed at improving the user’s experience.
Please note that para 3, s6.6 of the Request for Expressions of Interest Brief for the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project states that:
“Additional applications and relevant data will be added to the Hub as procurement for Remediation progresses”.
The Authority encourages all registered users to access the Data Hub regularly to ensure that they have all relevant data to support the preparation of their Tender.
Responses to the Request for Proposals (RFP) to clean up grounding impacts on Douglas Shoal, by the two short-listed proponents closed on 2 December 2021.
The Reef Authority has commenced evaluation of the two invited responses.
The Project reached a key milestone with Request for Proposals (RFP) documents released to the two short-listed proponents on 2 September 2021.
The two proponents have three months to develop and submit their costed proposals to clean up grounding impacts on Douglas Shoal, after which evaluation of proposals will occur.
The significant contribution of colleagues across Authority work areas to this milestone is acknowledged. The contribution of the Project’s externally contracted partners – Advisian (Planning and Advisory Services), BMT Eastern Australia (Environmental Monitoring), MinterEllison (Legal Advice), Maddocks (Probity Advice) and the Project’s Steering Committee have also been invaluable.
On-water remediation at Douglas Shoal is expected to commence in 2022.
The Expression of Interest for ATM000020 – Douglas Shoal Remediation Contractor released on AusTender between 16 July and 10 September 2020 has concluded. Two groups have been shortlisted to progress to the Request for Proposal stage of procurement.
This will be an interactive stage where the Authority will work with the shortlisted groups to ensure they understand the requirements to promote the natural recovery of Douglas Shoal, including working with Traditional Owners and minimising work, health and safety risks and environmental impacts. The Authority will not be announcing the names of the two shortlisted groups.
The timing of on-water remediation at Douglas Shoal will be dependent on a range of factors, including eventual contract execution, weather and vessel availability, but is expected to occur in late 2021 or 2022.
The Project’s environmental monitoring contractor, BMT Pty Ltd, delivered a comprehensive Pre-remediation Monitoring Report in October 2020. It reports on two environmental monitoring surveys to assess the condition of the shoal and an adjacent site.
Further monitoring activities during and after the remediation works are scheduled. The Pre-remediation Monitoring Report can be found via the documents and reports link at the bottom of this page.
Several updates have been to the Douglas Shoal Data Hub, including the incorporation of Towed Underwater Video footage. Data and imagery collected during the pre-remediation environmental surveys will be included in the data hub over the coming months.
The Authority recognises the valuable and high-quality services provided by its two major Project contractors to date, namely Advisian for planning and advice and BMT Pty Ltd for environmental monitoring. The Authority looks forward to continuing work with both contractors to remediate Douglas Shoal.
Please continue to check this webpage for the latest updates.
The Authority released an Expression of Interest for ATM000020 – Douglas Shoal Remediation Project Remediation Contractor on AusTender on 16 July 2020, which closed on 10 September 2020. The release of the Expression of Interest is an important milestone in the journey to remediate Douglas Shoal.
- The Expression of Interest is the first of the two-stage procurement process for the remediation of Douglas Shoal comprising:
- the current Expressions of Interest: through the Expressions of Interest process, the Authority expects to, amongst other things, develop a shortlist of entities to be invited to participate in the second stage of the procurement process (being, the Request for Proposals stage); and
- a Request for Proposals: it is anticipated that shortlisted entities from the Expression of Interest process will be invited to submit a proposal to the Authority. The Request for Proposals process may be interactive, and the Authority may require Request for Proposals participants to engage with the Authority throughout the Request for Proposals process. The Request for Proposals process is anticipated to commence in early 2021.
Importantly, at the same time as the release of the EOI, the Authority has also developed and released the Douglas Shoal Remediation Project Data Hub.
The Data Hub has been developed to support potential suppliers in accessing relevant spatial data to aid in the development of proposals. It will also assist a range of stakeholders in gaining an insight into the impact of the Douglas Shoal grounding and the project’s scope and remediation requirements.
The Authority released a Notice of Intended Procurement (Notice) on AusTender. The Notice provided an opportunity for organisations that responded to the Notice to explore potential teaming arrangements.
In addition, the Notice provided advance notice of the intended procurement process for the Douglas Shoal Remediation, which the Authority anticipates undertaking through a two-stage process comprising of:
- an Expressions of Interest: through an Expressions of Interest process intended to be undertaken in mid-2020, the Authority expects to, amongst other things, develop a shortlist of entities to be invited to participate in the second stage of the procurement process (being, the Request for Proposals stage); and
- a Request for Proposals: it is anticipated that shortlisted respondents from the Expression of Interest process will be invited to submit a proposal to the Authority. The Request for Proposals process may be interactive, and the Authority may require Request for Proposals participants to engage with the Authority throughout the Request for Proposals process. The Request for Proposals process is anticipated to commence in late 2020.
Approach to market documentation for the Douglas Shoal Remediation procurement will be issued through AusTender, the Australian Government's procurement information system.
The fieldwork report from environmental monitoring contractor BMT’s first set of surveys has now been released. It explains the overall monitoring program and the activities conducted at Douglas Shoal in October-November 2019.
The project’s planning contractor Advisian has completed a remediation options analysis, and we have released the executive summary. It evaluates a wide range of remediation options and identifies those that most closely align with the project’s objectives.
The project’s environmental monitoring contractor BMT has now completed the first set of pre-remediation surveys. These surveys will set up a ‘baseline’ against which we can measure changes over time, helping us to evaluate the effectiveness of our remediation activities.
The project’s planning contractor Advisian has completed the Site Assessment Report, which gives us a better understanding of remediation priorities. We have also released Advisian’s report on ocean conditions at Douglas Shoal from January to June 2019. This information will help us manage the safety of workers and the environment. We are now working with Advisian to evaluate different remediation options and decide the best way to procure contractors to carry out the remediation.
The Authority responded to questions about the project from the Australian Senate's Supplementary Budget Estimates Committee (Environment and Communications). For details, see the transcript of the hearing and our response to a question on notice.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is helping Douglas Shoal to recover from the coal carrier Shen Neng 1 grounding in 2010. ran aground The cleanup has commenced. Learn more:
Sonar, sediment and visual surveys have been completed to fill critical knowledge gaps. Preliminary results indicate that contamination from anti-fouling paint remains at unacceptable levels, particularly where the ship first hit the shoal. This includes tributyltin (TBT), a substance now banned internationally because it's so harmful to marine life. Further analysis is continuing on the data collected.
We are also preparing a 3D hydrodynamic model to better understand local sea conditions.
BMT Eastern Australia was contracted to monitor the environment before, during and after remediation works.
Existing contractor Advisian finished sediment sampling and will conduct sonar and visual surveys in May/June.
Environmental sampling started at the remediation site, which will determine the current condition and required response. The sampling will occur over the coming months with several return trips to Douglas Shoal.
Remediation of Douglas Shoal following 2010 ship grounding
In April 2010, the Chinese-registered coal carrier Shen Neng I ran aground on Douglas Shoal in the Great Barrier Reef, near Heron Island.
The vessel was grounded for nine days, damaging an estimated 42 hectares of habitat and producing the largest ship-grounding scar ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef. The 2014 Outlook Report outlined the details of the 2010 Shen Neng I incident.
Following the incident, there was no immediate access to the resources needed for clean-up or restoration of the area.
In late 2016, the Marine Park Authority negotiated an out-of-court settlement with the ship’s owners and insurers, resulting in $35 million being allocated for cleaning up the site.
Surveys and planning are now underway to determine how best to address the three types of damage caused by the ship: toxic antifouling paint particles, unconsolidated rubble and crushed habitat. All three types of damage hinder the natural recovery of the site by making it difficult for plants and animals to re-establish.
Damaged areas are still visible on satellite images more than nine years after the incident. Monitoring will be focused on assessing the effectiveness of different remediation and restoration methods to support recovery.
This will give Reef managers critical knowledge about how best to respond to any future shipping incidents or other events that physically damage the reef, such as cyclones.
Read more in our 2019 Outlook Report
We engaged Advisian Pty Ltd to deliver planning, advisory and management services following a competitive tender process.
Advisian will survey the shoal to more precisely map out damaged areas, help us evaluate clean-up options, and help us find the right contractors to carry out the clean-up works.
A tender for environmental monitoring services, advertised on AusTender in May, closed in July. It is now under evaluation.
A tender for remediation planning and project management for Douglas Shoal, advertised on AusTender in January, closed in March.
In November 2017, the project team finalised the Preliminary Site Assessment Report.
This report consolidates the Marine Park Authority’s knowledge of Douglas Shoal before and after the grounding and identifies critical knowledge gaps and possible priority areas for remediation.