Surgical masks have reportedly washed up on Australia’s east coast after a cargo ship lost dozens of containers in rough seas, according to officials.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the Singapore-flagged container ship APL England experienced a “temporary loss of propulsion” Sunday morning about 45 miles southeast of Sydney.
“The ship’s power was restored within a few minutes, but during this time the ship reported that it was rolling heavily, causing container stacks to collapse and several containers to fall overboard,” the agency said.
AMSA said the ship lost “about 40 containers” while en route from Ningbo, China to Melbourne, Australia. The vessel then turned around and headed north, anchoring off Brisbane in Byron Bay as AMSA teams surveyed the ship.
Inspectors boarded APL England on Tuesday to conduct a seaworthiness inspection to establish the structural and operational conditions of the ship. AMSA General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said the seaworthiness inspection will help determine how the ship might be brought safely into the Port of Brisbane.
Besides the containers that fell into the sea, 74 were damaged and collapsed on the deck of the ship. Six more are protruding from the starboard side and three containers are hanging from the port side of the ship.
“Once the ship is safely in port we will begin our investigation which will focus on the safety of the ship including whether cargo was appropriately stacked and secured on board the ship, and any potential breaches of environmental pollution regulations,” he said in a statement.