Inspectors boarded the container ship APL England anchored off the Port of Brisbane yesterday (Port Cartwright) for a seaworthiness examination before entry.
Container ship APL England off Port of Brisbane yesterday.
Debris has begun washing up on NSW shores, with packets of facemasks floating onto beaches. It is expected that the coastline will be further littered over the coming weeks by contents of sunken and damaged containers.
Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) General Manager of Operations, Allan Schwartz, said while it was still unclear exactly which containers had fallen overboard, initial indications were that the affected stacks contained a wide range of goods like household appliances, building materials and medical supplies.
No dangerous goods appear to be in the areas affected by the collapse of container stacks and AMSA is working closely with the ship’s cargo agent to confirm exactly which containers went overboard,” he said.
We have received a report of some medical supplies (face masks) washing up between Magenta Beach and The Entrance. This information has been passed onto NSW Maritime. These correlate to drift modelling of debris and are consistent with items listed on the ship’s cargo manifest.
ANL, the ship’s operators, in a press release said APL England suffered a brief loss of propulsion whilst approximately 40 nautical miles off Sydney, Australia on 24th May 2020.
Propulsion was quickly restored, but due to very heavy seas and weather conditions throughout the region, approximately 40 containers were dislodged from their secure mountings and fell overboard. Twenty one of these containers were empty, and none of the containers contain regulated ‘IMDG’ or ‘dangerous’ cargo.
As has been reported, contents of a few of these containers have subsequently washed up on beaches in the Sydney and Central Coast area. None of this cargo poses a risk to public health, and we apologise for any disruption that has been caused.
As part of this undertaking, we have appointed a company with expertise in environmental clean up, the Varley Group, which is commencing the clean-up operation today, 27th May.
AMSA inspectors checked the structural and operational condition of the ship following the collapse of container stacks on the deck, resulting in 40 containers overboard on Sunday.
Mr Schwartz said the on-board inspection will determine if, and how, the ship might be brought safely into the Port of Brisbane.
We expect to have the outcome of today’s seaworthiness inspection and confirmation of the next steps by tomorrow morning. We are working closely with our partners at Maritime Safety Queensland.
Once the ship is safely in port we will begin our investigation which will focus on the safety of the ship including whether cargo was appropriately stacked and secured on board the ship, and any potential breaches of environmental pollution regulations.”
Under the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies, the NSW Government has lead response for shoreline clean-up, supported by AMSA.