This photo taken on April 4 by the government of Queensland, Australia, shows a small amount of oil leaking from the Chinese coal carrier the Shen Neng 1 after the vessel ran aground near Australia's Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland late on April 3. The carrier was refloated on April 12 and officials were dispatched to assess damage to the Douglas Shoal on the reef. Queensland Government/HO/AFP/Newscom
A worker checks the water depth from on board the Chinese coal carrier the Shen Neng 1 on April 7, after the vessel ran aground near Australia's Great Barrier Reef late on April 3. Queensland Government/HO/AFP/Newscom
Reefs and atolls of the Great Barrier Reef are seen off the coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world. The reef is also the largest object created by living things. The reef faces many environmental threats, including global climate change, pollution, overfishing, and accidents like the grounding of the Shen Neng 1. Newscom/File
Coral is seen at Moore Reef in the Great Barrier Reef. Coral reefs are formed by myriad, millimeter-long coral polyps, secreting calcium carbonate that forms a hard skeleton. Newscom/File
This photo taken on April 4 by the Queensland government shows oil leaking from the Shen Neng 1. The ship, traveling outside normal shipping lanes, released 3-4 tonnes of oil in an oil slick extending at least 2 nautical miles. The ship's owner could be fined up to 5.5 million Australian dollars. Queensland Government/HO/AFP/Newscom
An Australian worker is seen on board the Shen Neng 1 on April 7. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has claimed that the government will 'bring to account those who are responsible' for threatening Australia's greatest natural asset. Queensland Government/HO/AFP/Newscom
Fish are seen at Moore Reef. The reef supports a huge diversity of species, many of which are endangered. Newscom/File
Clownfish are seen in the Great Barrier Reef. At least 1,500 fish species call the reef their home. Oceans-Image/Photoshot/Newscom/File
Coral and tropical fish are seen in the Great Barrier Reef's Challenger Bay. Oceans-Image/Photoshot/Newscom/File
A shoal of bigeye snappers and yellowfin goatfish swim with a diver. Tourism and diving is a huge industry at the reef, mainly at the easily accessible Whitsundays and Cairns. PTS/Newscom/File
Since 1981 the Great Barrier Reef is registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. DPA/Newscom/File
A close-up shot of a Common Lionfish at the Great Barrier Reef. Newscom/File
The US announced steps toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday, but the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.
ByIbrahim Barzak and Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press
The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.