You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Reef spill $39m payout enough: authority

AAP logoAAP 17/10/2016 Elise Scott

The authority charged with looking after the Great Barrier Reef has defended a $39 million payout for the grounding of a Chinese coal carrier as enough to get the clean-up job done.

That's despite an out-of-court settlement with Shenzhen Energy Transport Co Ltd for less than one third of the compensation initially sought for the wreckage left by the 2010 reef accident.

The clean-up won't get underway until mid next year due to the likelihood of storms over the summer.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief executive Russell Reichelt said he would have accepted anything between $30m and $60m to remove paint particles and rubble left on coral in the wake the grounding.

The clean-up will get $35 million with the additional $4 million paid in compensation for damages already incurred.

"It wasn't a case of settle at any cost," Dr Reichelt told a Senate committee on Monday.

"It was a case of that's an amount we can work with to clean up the reef."

Some estimates put the cost of cleaning up the mess left by the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 at up to $190 million.

Dr Reichelt said those were based on United States estimates and work done by the authority in the six years since the accident found it wouldn't cost that much.

However, he conceded it was unacceptable Shenzhen Energy Transport and their insurers had taken so long.

"I was very frustrated," Dr Reichelt said, admitting in hindsight the federal government could have been asked to foot the recovery cost while waiting for the settlement.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon