Heavy seas off the east coast of Australia have caused 83 shipping containers to fall off a cargo ship, threatening maritime traffic and migrating whales.
The YM Efficiency, operated by Taiwanese shipping company Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, was sailing from Taiwan to Sydney on Thursday, May 31, when it encountered 5-meter swells in the Tasman Sea about 30km off the New South Wales central coast.
Powerful waves and gale force winds caused the Liberian-registered vessel to roll heavily causing 83 containers to fall off, and damaging 30 more, the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Service said on its FaceBook page on Saturday.
Nappies, sanitary products, car parts, and plastic wrapping have begun washing up on beaches between Port Stephens and Newcastle, reported 7 News.
Port Stephens: Items most likely from some of the 83 containers that fell from cargo ship YM Efficiency were spotted from the news helicopter today. Two containers were also spotted near Fingal Head and Boondelbah Island. https://t.co/kcoya9v7X4 #YMEfficiency #7News pic.twitter.com/l8wXmHr8nW
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) June 1, 2018
Authorities have warned people not to take home any items that have washed ashore. Boaters have also been urged to look out for debris and containers which may create navigational hazards.
According to 7 News, the freighter has not yet come to port due to worsening weather conditions. Yang Ming is currently organising the process for repairs. The operator is also responsible for handling the recovery and removal of the fallen cargo, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Once docked, marine safety officials will reportedly investigate how the containers were secured and the crews’ actions.
Reuters contributed to this report.