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    Damage Control

    Freight Ship Hits Great Barrier Reef

    Australians are working against the clock to protect the 1,800-mile Great Barrier Reef following a major strike by a 755-foot Chinese freighter carrying more than 65,000 tons of coal. The ship entered a restricted zone of the reef's marine park and hit the environmentally sensitive World Heritage Site at full speed, spilling small quantities of oil into a rich ecosystem that's home to over 3,000 islands, cays, and individual reefs. "This is a serious situation and we've mobilized air, sea, and land resources in response," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Authorities say they fear that the ship may break apart and exacerbate the damage, and environmentalists are angry that the vessel wasn’t manned by a marine pilot. "We are outraged that no marine pilot is required on ships between Gladstone and Cairns,” said the Capricorn Conservation Council in a release. “This will increase the likelihood of similar events.”