STRANDED: A bulk carrier ship became stuck in mud flats on Tuesday morning near Facing Island.
STRANDED: A bulk carrier ship became stuck in mud flats on Tuesday morning near Facing Island. Greg Bray

Bulk carrier detained after running aground near Facing Isl

A COAL ship has been detained by Australian maritime authorities after it ran aground near Facing Island this morning.

The bulk carrier Marshall Island-flagged Maria GO became stuck near Gatcombe Heads, at the southern entrance of the Gladstone Harbour, after its engine failed.

The 229m-long ship, which was due to leave Gladstone Port today for Banyuquan Port in China, became grounded on a mud bank at 9am.

Maritime Safety Queensland said it appeared the bulk carrier remained intact, with no sign of damage or pollution.

It took eight Gladstone Ports Corporation tug boats more than two hours to re-float the vessel.

While the rescue would usually have been visible from Tannum Sands Beach, it was not today due to smoke from the Deepwater fire.

"Gladstone Port tugs responded to the incident, towing the ship to deeper water on a rising tide about 11am," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said all shipping movements in the Port of Gladstone were suspended while the rescue operation was under way.

Australian Maritime Safety Queensland has detained the ship for inspection of damage and seaworthiness before it is allowed to continue its voyage.

The MSQ spokesperson said it took all shipping incidents seriously and was investigating the matter.

Pollution responders and equipment remain on standby as a precaution.

The vessel is now anchored behind Facing Island.