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China demands fair treatment for Shen Neng 1 crew

Gladstone: China has called for the fair treatment of the master and chief officer of the Shen Neng 1. The Wang Jichang, the 47-year-old captain,and chief officer-on-watch, Wang Xuegang, 44, of the Shen Neng 1, were arrested on April 14 for the grounding of the bulker on the Greta Barrier Reef on April 3. The two seafarers appeared a Gladstone in court yesterday. The master was bailed, while the chief officer, who faces a maximum penalty of three years in jail and A$220,000 fine, was ordered to surrender his passport and confined to the vessel. "We hope the Australian government will deal with it with justice and guarantee the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens," Jiang Yu Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told a regular news conference. "We also hope that during the judicial process the Australian government will abide by the China-Australia Consular Agreement." A preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau blamed human error for the accident, highlighting fatigue with the chief officer having just two and a half hours sleep in a 37 hour period. [16/04/10]

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