ADVERSE weather conditions have forced marine authorities to ditch plans to tow the Shen Neng 1 into the Port of Gladstone, instead opting to take it south to Hervey Bay.
The Shen Neng 1 hit the Douglas Shoal on Easter Saturday, spilling up to four tonnes of heavy fuel oil from its ruptured fuel tank and causing extensive damage to the reef.
Poor weather forced authorities to abort initial attempts to tow the Shen Neng 1 into the port of Gladstone on April 23.
Following a request and advice from salvors, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on Thursday ordered the vessel be taken to a more protected position.
The AMSA direction now means the ship will move to a safe anchorage between the mainland and Fraser Island in the northern reaches of Hervey Bay.
While there it will have coal unloaded onto smaller vessels prior to being towed overseas.
AMSA deputy CEO Mick Kinley said the decision to move the ship was made following a request from the salvors.
“The ship will only remain in the Hervey Bay area for the minimum time necessary to lighten it,” he said.
Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Patrick Quirk said the ship remained structurally sound despite damage it sustained when it grounded on Douglas Shoal.
He said bad weather had made efforts to tow the vessel to the Port of Gladstone too dangerous.