Australia lays charges against APL England’s master over container spill

Charges have been laid against the master of the APL England, a containership which lost about 50 containers overboard off Sydney on 24 May, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

containership
Image Courtesy: AMSA

As informed, the offences relate to pollution and damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading.

AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz said laying charges against the ship’s master was not undertaken lightly.

“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,” Schwartz added.

“We welcome ANL taking responsibility by engaging contractors to undertake shoreline clean-up and retrieve some of the floating containers… 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.”

Schwartz said the ship remained under detention in the Port of Brisbane and would not be released until its serious deficiencies have been rectified.

AMSA has placed an additional requirement on the owner of the ship which must be met before the ship will be released from detention.

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

The Singapore-flagged boxship lost containers after experiencing temporary power loss in heavy seas about 73 kilometres south east of Sydney. The 5,780 TEU ship headed afterwards to Brisbane in order to inspect and secure remaining containers.

AMSA’s investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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