Environmental win worthy of celebration: YM Efficiency container retrieval success

8 May 2020

Transport for NSW has congratulated the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on today’s successful completion of the operation to remove 63 containers which fell from the YM Efficiency onto the ocean floor off the Central Coast in June 2018.

“This is the end to a significant  chapter in what has been one of the most protracted environmental pollution incidents in Australian waters,” NSW Maritime A/ Executive Director NSW Maritime Alex Barrell said.

“Seven days after the 1 June 2018 incident, 100 cubic metres of debris – enough to fill a quarter of an Olympic swimming pool – had washed up and was collected from the NSW shoreline and water. As long as containers remained off our coast, the threat of pollution remained.

“This pollution threat for NSW Hunter coastal communities is now significantly diminished.

“Transport for NSW will continue to manage the shoreline response to any reports of debris washing up from the handful of containers which have eluded sonar and other detection.

“This is truly a best case scenario result from a successful collaboration of Commonwealth and NSW maritime authorities.”

The AMSA recovery operation began on April 4 and has seen 63 containers and tonnes of associated pollution successfully recovered from the ocean. The Taiwanese ship’s records indicate a further 13 containers may remain at various depths on the ocean floor off NSW.

Mr Barrell said the contents of the containers retrieved in the AMSA operation had matched the descriptions on the ship’s manifest.

“I’m told there was nothing found which didn’t correspond to what was listed. However, the Chev ute was a bit rusty, and the three containers of toilet paper were a bit waterlogged,” he said.

Members of the public should continue to report any sightings of debris by phone to 13 12 36 or by email to incident@rms.nsw.gov.au.

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