A Chinese coal carrier that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef is being towed to a safe anchorage off Central Queensland after a successful salvage operation on Monday night.
The Shen Neng 1 was refloated on the high tide at 8:00pm AEST.
The carrier hit Douglas Shoal in waters off Rockhampton nine days ago, rupturing a fuel tank and spilling more than two tonnes of oil into the water.
Engineers assessed the damage to the ship’s hull once it was refloated, before several tug boats towed it from the reef.
Maritime Safety Queensland spokesman Robert Hoge says the ship will be anchored off Great Keppel Island.
Authorities were keen to refloat the ship ahead of a low pressure system that is predicted to bring gale-force winds and heavy seas on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Queensland Government announced it was getting tough on companies involved in oil spills, increasing penalties by millions of dollars.
But the laws, to be introduced to Parliament this week, will not be retrospective.
Premier Anna Bligh says the laws will boost the maximum penalty for individuals from $350,000 to $500,000.
Companies could be fined a maximum of $10 million, up from $1.7 million.