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Shipowner that lost 50 boxes overboard in Australia ordered to retrieve every one of them

PortandTerminal.com, June 17, 2020

Last month the container ship APL England lost 50 containers overboard in rough seas. To date, only 15 of them have been recovered. Australia has ordered the ship’s owner to search and recover every single one of them.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The Australian Maritime Safety Authority 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 part of its latest order, AMSA expects the owner and operator to respond to the direction with a detailed search plan. The ship is owned by APL Singapore, insured by Steamship Mutual, and operated by ANL.

“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,”

“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.”

“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.

Captain charged and released on bail

Australia has laid down charges against the ship’s captain over pollution and damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading.

He was released on bail and has since returned to Malaysia, however, he was ordered to return for the next hearing before the Brisbane Magistrates Court scheduled for July 27.

The ship though remains under detention in the Port of Brisbane and would not be released until its serious deficiencies have been rectified, AMSA said.

“This and other incidents remind us of the important role the ship’s Master has in ensuring the ships that ply our waters are operated safely and do not damage our marine environment,” said AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz. 

“Today’s actions should not detract from the responsibility of the shipowner APL Singapore, insurer Steamship Mutual, and operator ANL who remain accountable for remediation of any impacts of this incident”

“We have only just finished cleaning-up more than 60 containers and their contents from the seafloor off Newcastle after Yang Ming’s ship YM Efficiency lost containers back in June 2018″ AMSA stated when handing down its order to APL

Damaged sea containers on beach
So far, only 15 of the 50 container lost overboard have been recovered

The Yang Ming incident

Container ship with damaged containers leaning over the side.
The Yang Ming container ship YM Efficiency arrives at Port Botany in Sydney, Australia, June 6, 2018. AAP/David Moir/via REUTERS

This latest APL England incident has occurred close to two years after the YM Efficiency lost more than 80 containers in heavy seas off the Hunter coast in Australia. Tonnes of debris washed ashore in the weeks after the incident. More than one year later residents were still collecting container debris from along their beaches.

After Yang Ming refused to pay the salvage costs, a sister ship of the YM Efficiency was arrested and detained while the Port of Sydney in February 2020.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority concluded a $17 million operation to recover most of those containers earlier this month.

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