Captain Charged Over Containers Overboard

The captain of a vessel that lost 40 containers off the NSW coast on Sunday is set to be charged over the incident because the ship's cargo-securing was inadequate & corroded.

Mangled shipping containers washing up on the NSW Central Coast. (9News)

On Tuesday we reported the details (see here) of 40 shipping containers being lost overboard, and 74 more damaged, from the vessel APL England. Early investigations show lashings on the cargo ship, which lost the containers off the New South Wales coast, were inadequate and securing points were heavily corroded. We understand the captain will be charged today.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) boarded the Singaporean-flagged vessel at the Port of Brisbane on Tuesday to conduct a seaworthiness inspection. This allegedly uncovered that cargo wasn’t secured properly and fittings used to secure containers on the deck were rusty. AMSA said in a statement the ship was in clear breach of requirements and guidelines under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The ship will be detained in the Port of Brisbane until it is repaired, and the findings will form part of AMSA’s ongoing investigation. Over the next week, the process of unpacking the vessel and examining the extent of the damage will take place. The authority said it expects the ship’s owner and insurers to take full responsibility for a mess that could cost millions of dollars.

The incident happened about 73km south-east of Sydney on the vessel’s journey from China to Melbourne. Mangled containers from the ship later dotted Birdie Beach at Budgewoi on the NSW Central Coast, spilling their contents onto the sand.

Among the consignees who lost cargo was supermarket chain Coles. Some of their merchandise washed up on Queensland’s Frenchman’s Beach, with hundreds of the supermarket’s plastic food containers spotted on the shore. It is known that four containers holding their retail stock had either gone missing or been damaged in the incident.

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