Ship loses 40 containers in wild weather
Dozens of shipping containers have been dropped in the sea off the NSW coast after wild weather caused a cargo ship to become unstable.
About 10.45am on Sunday the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was notified that a container ship had lost 40 containers about 73km southeast of Sydney.
The ship APL England was travelling from China to Melbourne in heavy weather when its main engine tripped just after 6am.
While the ships power was down it was rolling heavily causing multiple containers to fall off the deck into the water.
Along with the lost containers 74 were damaged, another six were protruding from the ship's starboard side and three were protruding from the port side.
An investigation has been launched into the incident.
The ship has turned around and is now heading toward Brisbane," AMSA said in a statement on Monday.
"AMSA will be inspecting the ship once the destination port has been confirmed, upon its arrival."
One of the authority's Challenger jet planes on Sunday searched for containers and debris in the water, and inspected the ship for any signs of damage or pollution, but efforts were hampered by bad weather.
The Challenger returned to the APL England on Monday - some 20 kilometres east of Byron Bay in the evening - while AMSA conducted drift modelling with NSW Maritime about potential shoreline impacts.
"At this stage no sightings of containers or debris along the shoreline have been reported and more extensive drift modelling will be conducted factoring in the Challenger's observations in better weather," the authority said.
Discussions are also underway with Maritime Safety Queensland regarding the use of Brisbane Port.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will meet the ship when it arrives at the port to "collect relevant evidence including interviewing directly involved parties".
"Should any safety critical information be discovered at any time during the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify operators and regulators so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken," the authority said in a statement.
The APL England - under different management - previously lost 37 containers in the Great Australian Bight in August 2016 due to heavy rolling in rough seas.