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In rough weather, early in the morning of 24 May, about 50 containers were lost overboard from the Singapore-flagged container ship APL England.

Update: 30 May
Charges have been laid against the master of the APL England, which lost about 50 containers overboard off Sydney on Sunday. This is the result of work between AMSA, the Queensland Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution.

The offences relate to pollution and/or damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading. Laying charges against the ship’s Master is not action we undertake lightly but this and other incidents remind us of the important role the ship’s Master has in ensuring the ships that ply our waters are operated safely and do not damage our marine environment.

Today’s actions should not detract from the responsibility of the ship owner APL Singapore, insurer Steamship Mutual, and operator ANL who remain accountable for remediation of any impacts of this incident.

We welcome ANL taking responsibility by engaging contractors to undertake shoreline clean-up and retrieve some of the floating containers this week, but the impacts of this incident could take months, if not years to remediate and we expect these efforts to be sustained for however long it takes.

The ship remains under detention in the Port of Brisbane and will not be released until its serious deficiencies have been rectified.

As of today, AMSA has placed an additional requirement on the owner of the ship under the Protection of the Seas Act which must be met before the ship will be released from detention.

This action seeks financial security from the insurers in the order of $22 million. This provides a commitment that they will remediate all impacts of this incident. That $22 million covers estimated costs including that of a clean-up.

AMSA’s investigation is ongoing.

Source: AMSA