Australia charges ship Master over loss of containers

Australia charges ship Master over loss of containers


Australian authorities have brought charges against the master of the APL England, which lost about 50 containers overboard off Sydney on Sunday.

The offenses relate to pollution and/or damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz said laying charges against the ship’s Master were not taken 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,” said Schwartz. “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.”

The APL England itself was detained at the Port of Brisbane on Wednesday night. Schwartz said previously that the authority’s inspection of the ship had already revealed that lashing arrangements for cargo were inadequate and securing points for containers on the deck of the ship were heavily corroded.

“These findings constitute a clear breach of a requirement under SOLAS to ensure that a ship and its equipment are maintained so as not to present a risk to the safety of the ship itself or anyone on board the ship,” Schwartz said.

APL England lost about 40 containers overboard during heavy weather off Sydney. Australian authorities later revised the number to 50 lost containers.

The ship will remain under detention in the Port of Brisbane and would not be released until its 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,” Schwartz said on Friday. “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 into the incident is ongoing.