The Singapore-flagged container ship APL England’s incident involved the loss of about 40 containers overboard during heavy seas. Source: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority – AMSA Facebook page
The Singapore-flagged container ship APL England’s incident involved the loss of about 40 containers overboard during heavy seas. Source: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority – AMSA Facebook page

Will shipping container debris land on our beaches?

WILL the shipping container debris from the APL England hit the Northern Rivers in coming weeks?

NSW Maritime's acting executive director, Alex Barrell, said modelling was being used to determine likely impacts with increased inspections being carried out as a result.

"There are confirmed reports of debris coming ashore at Forresters Beach and Maitland Bay on the Central Coast and as far away as Lord Howe Island," he said.

"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."

The container ship APL England lost 50 containers 73km off Sydney in waters around 2km deep on May 24.

Debris started to wash ashore two days later.

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

Mr 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.

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.

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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