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Container ship that lost 50 boxes overboard released on $22.5m bail

PortandTerminal.com, June 22, 2020

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The APL England, which lost 50 containers overboard in rough seas last month, has been released on bail and allowed to sail to China where it will undergo repairs. The ship departed Brisbane on June 19 without cargo and with a new Master.

The ship’s previous Master, who has been charged with offences related to pollution and/damage to Australia’s marine environment as a result of poor cargo handling, will be repatriated.

APL England docked at the Port of Brisbane.
PHOTO: APL England docked at the Port of Brisbane. All cargo has been off-loaded and the vessel is now underway to China for repairs.

Inspectors with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) boarded the vessel last week at the Port of Brisbane and were satisfied that the ship was fit to sail to China for repairs. 

Prior to allowing the ship to sail, the AMSA received a formal written commitment from the ship’s insurer, Steamship Mutual, that it will pay fines and other amounts that are agreed or imposed by a court in relation to AMSA’s costs in responding to the incident. This commitment, according to AMSA, is for an amount up to $22.5 million. 

AMSA has ordered the owner of APL England to search for all of the missing containers that were lost from their vessel off the New South Wales coast.

As of June 17th, only 15 of the 50 that were lost have been retrieved.  

“Drift modelling and analysis of container sightings following the incident indicates that missing containers could be in this area at a water depth of up to 200m (656 ft). Containers within the search area pose the most immediate environmental threat and may present a safety hazard for commercial fishers,” AMSA said.

“The owner’s and operator’s responsibility to clean-up the mess left behind by their ship does not end at the water’s edge,” said Mark Morrow, AMSA’s General Manager Response. “Failure to comply with this direction constitutes an offense under Australian law.”

The AMSA reports that the APL England’s owner and insurer have been begun tendering for a sonar to search an area encompassing some 386 square miles where missing containers are believed to be located.

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