Author: Adrian Johnston
Source: Forbes 
June 25, 2012
"The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s greatest treasures, covering 20,055 square kilometres and comprising 2904 coral reefs, 300 coral cays and 600 continental islands. I’ve always been amazed at the majesty and beauty of the reef, and I’m not alone: about two million tourists visit the reef each year .
However, it is as fragile as it is beautiful. As a World Heritage Site, many efforts are taken to ensure that pollution and other harmful activities do not impact the reef and the countless species that consider the reef home.
It may then come as a surprise to you that commercial ships are allowed to pass through the reef. Multiple established commercial shipping routes going through the reef mean that dozens of ships going through the reef each day. In addition, travelling through the reef provides ships with shallower and protected waters that allow them to anchor in the case of mechanical failure, making it safer than going around the reef into open sea and deeper waters."
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