Captain arrested for sailing coal ship through Reef without pilot

The Federal Police have arrested the captain of a Chinese coal ship for sailing through the Great Barrier Reef without a pilot.

It is alleged the carrier left Mackay on New Years Day and sailed through the Great Barrier Reef without a pilot as required by Australian law.

The captain was arrested in Newcastle on Saturday and will face court later today.

If found guilty, the captain of the ship could face a maximum fine of $85 000.

In 2010, a Chinese coal carrier ran aground on the reef causing a three kilometre long scar in and around the Douglas Shoal.