Containers were hanging off the APL England ship as it docked after coming under fire from authorities for allowing 75 containers to tumble into the ocean.
Containers were hanging off the APL England ship as it docked after coming under fire from authorities for allowing 75 containers to tumble into the ocean.

Containers hang off ship as it docks

Floating cargo containers lost overboard from a Singapore-flagged vessel with a chequered history could prove troublesome for international ships negotiating Australian waters.

APL England has docked at the Port of Brisbane after losing about 40 shipping containers on Sunday in rough seas off the NSW coast.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority representative Mark Morrow says the agency will raise concerns about the ship, which has now lost more than 75 containers in Australian waters, with international authorities.

Mr Morrow says aircraft are trying to spot the floating containers to alert ships passing along the east coast.

The fallen containers on top of the ship. Pic Peter Wallis
The fallen containers on top of the ship. Pic Peter Wallis

"Aircraft are trying to locate the floating containers ... at least to provide some advice to shipping in the area as a navigational hazard and also try and retrieve them if we can," Mr Morrow said.

"We remain concerned that shipping containers don't fall from the vessel, even in an eight-metre swell.

"We expect high standards and we will certainly raise those issues with the international maritime organisation with a view to we can fix or retain those containers into the future." ANL, the operator of APL England, said 21 of the containers lost on Sunday were empty and none of the others contained regulated hazardous goods or dangerous cargo.

The container ship APL England arrives at the Port of Brisbane. Pic Peter Wallis
The container ship APL England arrives at the Port of Brisbane. Pic Peter Wallis

The containers not only held medical supplies but also a wide range of goods, including household appliances and building materials.

Several containers have washed up at Birdie Beach near Newcastle while face masks and other items have been discovered on NSW beaches, including at Bondi, Mr Morrow said.

"We have predictions based on drift modelling where that material will go," he said

"I expect the majority will wash up within days ... but it depends on currents and ocean conditions."

The damaged containers. Pic Peter Wallis
The damaged containers. Pic Peter Wallis

In 2016, the APL England, under different owners, lost 37 containers in rough seas in the Great Australian Bight.

ANL apologised for any disruption that had been caused.

"ANL is committed to preserving the local environment and will undertake to remove debris in as timely a manner as possible," the company said in a statement.

The company has appointed Varley Group to start a clean-up operation on Wednesday.

Originally published as Containers hang off ship as it docks in Brisbane


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