Greenpeace activists on March 7 painted a huge message saying “Reef in danger” on the side of the Panamanian-registered coal ship Chou Shan, which was moored in Gladstone Harbour.
The action was timed to coincide with the arrival of a delegation from UNESCO investigating the impact of large-scale gas and coal developments on the Great Barrier Reef's world heritage values.
“If coalmining and export expansion plans proceed unchecked, by the end of the decade there will be six times as many coal ships passing through the Great Barrier Reef and millions of tonnes of seafloor dredged," Greenpeace said on March 7.
“UNESCO's visit should serve as a wake-up call to the Queensland and Australian governments. No longer can the reef be turned into an industrial playground for mining barons. The reef is Australia's legacy and we must protect it.
“By the end of this month the government will decide whether to approve the world's biggest coal port in the world heritage area. The Abbott Point port is just one of the massive development plans standing by for approval.
“The Queensland and Australian governments have agreed to a 'strategic assessment' to determine development impacts on the reef. They cannot approve these projects before this assessment is complete, otherwise the damage will be done …
“This is one of the defining battles of our time and we need you by our side.”