Containers lost overboard off NSW coast

Forty shipping containers have been lost overboard off the NSW coast after a ship rolled during heavy seas while travelling from China to Australia.

About 10.45am on Sunday the Australian Maritime Safety Authority was notified that a container ship had lost cargo overboard off the state’s coast.

The Singapore-flagged container ship APL England experienced a temporary loss of propulsion during heavy seas about 73km southeast of Sydney just after 6.10am, AMSA said in a statement on Sunday.

The ship was en route from China to Melbourne.

“The ship’s power was restored within a few minutes but during this time the ship reported that it was rolling heavily, causing container stacks to collapse and several containers to fall overboard,” the statement said.

The APL England’s master has reported some 40 containers were lost overboard and 74 were damaged.

It’s also been reported that six containers are protruding from the ship’s starboard side while three are protruding from the port side.

AMSA intends to send a challenger jet to the area to look for containers and debris, as well as to inspect the ship for signs of damage or pollution.

As of just after 4.30pm on Sunday, the APL England was located to the north of Sydney, and continuing north to lessen the impact of heavy weather.

“At this stage it is unknown whether there will be any shoreline impacts associated with this incident and AMSA is working with NSW Maritime to monitor the situation and develop an appropriate response,” the authority said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said on Sunday it will investigate the loss of containers.

“ATSB transport safety investigators will meet the vessel when it arrives in port in the coming days to survey damage to the vessel and container stacks, interview the crew and retrieve available recorded data,” the bureau said in a statement.

Investigators will also analyse weather information and review the operator of the ALP England’s loading systems.

“A preliminary report will be released in about one to two months after the initial evidence gathering phase is completed, while the investigation’s final report can be expected to be released in about 18 months’ time,” the bureau said.

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