New debris from shipping containers washes up after wild weather

16 July 2020

Clean up crews led by NSW Maritime are back out on the beaches and bays of NSW after several confirmed sightings of more debris from the APL England shipping container incident that occurred in May.

NSW Maritime A/ Executive Director Alex Barrell said teams to the north and south of Sydney are responding after members of the public sent through pictures and alerted the hotline late yesterday and this morning.

“We have multiple teams now cleaning up the shipping container parts, face masks and plastic food containers which have recently washed up at Cronulla and Boat Harbour, and around the Royal National Park at Burning Palms, Garie and Era Beaches,” Mr Barrell said.

“Additionally, there are also confirmed reports of debris coming ashore at Forresters Beach and Maitland Bay on the Central Coast and as far away as Lord Howe Island. 

“Sea conditions along with recent wild weather appear to have stirred up containers on the ocean floor. 

“Skippers should remain vigilant and keep a proper lookout as there is now a greater possibility of encountering container pieces that are submerged, semi-submerged or floating.”

Modelling is being used to determine likely impacts with increased inspections being carried out as a result. 

Mr Barrell said while the reports of debris and containers have slowed considerably in recent weeks, clean up resourcing would be maintained as part of the NSW Government’s commitment and responsibilities in protecting the coastline.

“NSW Maritime will continue to maintain the capability to quickly mobilise crews when notified about debris by members of the community,” he said. 

The container ship APL England lost 50 containers 73 kilometres off Sydney in waters around two kilometres deep on 24 May. Debris started to wash ashore two days later.

Members of the public who find debris or see containers are asked to call 13 12 36 (Option 2) or email incident@transport.nsw.gov.au

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