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Shen Neng captain 'couldn't understand our instructions'

REEF DISASTER: The Shen Neng 1 ran aground the Douglas Shoal in 2010 damaging the reef and spilling oil and toxic paint into the water.
REEF DISASTER: The Shen Neng 1 ran aground the Douglas Shoal in 2010 damaging the reef and spilling oil and toxic paint into the water.

THE captain of a Chinese ship that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef has admitted he often struggled to understand the directions an Australian Marine Safety Authority representative was giving him.

The Federal Government is suing Shenzhen Energy for $120 million over damage done to the reef in 2010 when their ship the Shen Neng 1 ran aground.

Shen Neng 1 captain Jichang Wang was cross-examined in the Federal Court via video link yesterday.

Captain Wang was asked about conversations he had with AMSA captain Andre Winkler . Captain Wang repeatedly told the court he had no memory of the conversations Captain Winkler claimed had happened.

Captain Wang admitted he "sometimes" understood what Captain Winkler spoke to him about on the night and had to ask him to repeat himself.

"Sometimes I understand. Sometimes I did not understand," he said.

The Shen Neng 1 ran around on Douglas Shoal about 100km from Gladstone and 120km from Rockhampton. It spent 12 days stuck on the shoal before it was towed to Hervey Bay.

Captain Winkler said Captain Wang told him he had received orders from Shenzhen Energy to "drive the ship off the reef".

But Captain Wang denied being given orders from Shenzhen.

He told the court the company would provide directions on the operations and voyages of the ship, but not its management.

Captain Wang was presented with an email from the company addressed to him and one of the Shen Neng 1's engineers about the ship's next voyage and directions to get the hull inspected.

But Captain Wang denied the email was an example of the company dictating to him how to run the ship. He said the email was directed to the engineers and he had only been copied into it.

The hearing continues.

ARM NEWSDESK

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