Maritime authorities are trying to disperse an oil spill stretching three kilometres along the Great Barrier Reef. The Chinese-owned, 230 metre-long bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1, ran aground about 70 kilometres east of Great Keppel Island, sparking a national oil spill response plan. The spill is located about four kilometres from the grounded bulk coal carrier, which is carrying 950 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 65,000 tonnes of coal. The Chinese-owned vessel was in a restricted zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, approximately 13 nautical miles off its set course, and well outside the authorised shipping corridor when it ran aground on the reef. Its presence in a restricted zone will be the subject of an investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. However the vessel is also in danger of breaking apart as a result of the impact of the high-speed crash, said Captain Patrick Quirk, general manager of Maritime Safety Queensland.