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Tow secured to Thor Commander adrift near Great Barrier Reef

Tow secured to Thor Commander adrift near Great Barrier Reef
Australian authorities have managed to secure a tow line to the general cargoship Thor Commander adrift near the Great Barrier Reef.

The 9,882 dwt, Antigua and Barbuda-flagged vessel had been adrift since Sunday northeast of Perkins Reef and north of Elusive Reef in the Swains Reefs group, about 379 km northeast of Gladstone after suffering engine damage.

“This morning, a towline was established between the disabled vessel and the tug Smit Leopard from Gladstone. Thor Commander is currently located about 375 km north east of Gladstone,” Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement on Tuesday,

The disabled vessel is being towed to Gladstone and is expected to arrive in port later this week.

The vessel is managed by Marship Ship Management in Germany.

The incident coincided with warnings from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) over increased shipping traffic near the Great Barrier Reef, in particularly LNG carriers registered with flags of convenience.

“Unfortunately flag of convenience ships are notorious for breaching safety and environmental codes internationally”, said Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director.

“There are already 4,000 ships crossing the Reef every year, and we’re expecting it will rise to around 7,000 if all the proposed port expansions proceed.

“It only takes one of those ships to have an accident to cause irreparable damage to the Reef and the $6bn tourism industry that relies on it.”