Australia Releases Yang Ming Containership from Detention

YM Eternity, a containership owned by Taiwan’s Yang Ming, has been released from detention in Australia, the shipping company confirmed.

On February 9, 2020, the Panamax boxship was arrested by the Australian Federal Court Admiralty Marshall at Port Botany, Sydney, after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) petitioned the court to recover the pollution debt of up to AUD 20 million (USD 13.4 million).

The arrest was related to the 81 containers lost overboard from YM Efficiency in 2018 and Yang Ming’s alleged refusal to pay for the cleanup costs.

The 2009-built ship was released one day later, on February 10, resuming cargo operations. After departing Sydney, YM Eternity continued its voyage to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, data provided by VesselsValue shows.

The release came after significant resources and manpower were allocated to recovering the containers.

“With regard to the YM Efficiency incident happened on June 1st 2018, Yang Ming and our insurer responded quickly … to the incident with the immediate allocation of very significant resources and manpower to the loss of the containers and their contents,” the company said in a statement.

“Yang Ming has been ever since … working with the New South Wales Government to ensure all debris that could possibly be associated with the incident is cleaned up within hours of its being reported – even if it was not actually from cargo on the ship. These clean-up operations were at very large expense, all paid by Yang Ming and our insurer.”

The company added that it, together with the New South Wales Government and AMSA, organized sonar scanning of the seafloor which commenced after the incident.

As informed, all of the containers lying on the seafloor are in deep water (about 120 meters) with most of the containers lying outside of the Australian territorial sea.

“Expert reports obtained by Yang Ming conclude that attempting to remove the containers will cause more risk of environmental damage than leaving them in place. The operations to remove the containers shall result in plastics within the containers being released into the ocean,” the company further said.

“As a consequence, these experts have recommended, considering all the environmental factors, the containers are best left on the seafloor pending further monitoring off the release of plastics from the container,” Yang Ming concluded.