Up to 50 of the 81 containers lost from the YM Efficiency have been identified on the ocean floor off the New South Wales (NSW) coast, a release from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has stated.
The identified containers have ranged in condition, with some being broken apart and some totally intact.
The ship’s insurers contracted the Port of Newcastle to provide their hydrographic survey vessel to conduct a five-day search on June 22, 2018.
The initial search area for the lost containers from the YM Efficiency, with the marked locations of the two discovered containers, Image courtesy of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The search has been described as successful, however poor weather conditions have caused delays and the search has been suspended until later this week.
The risk the containers could pose to maritime operations, especially trawler fish operations, will be properly assessed once the survey is finished and the collected data can be processed by surveyors.
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The search area for the containers has been focused on high priority areas around where the containers were originally lost from the vessel, with computer modelling software predicting where containers are most likely to be found.
The locations of the identified containers on the ocean floor. Image courtesy of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The number of lost containers was revised down to 81 on June, 29 2018, and two containers were identified after washing up on the shores of Fingal Head and Yaacaba Headland — leaving 29 containers still unaccounted for if the provisional figure of 50 newly identified containers is accurate.
The ship, belonging to Taiwanese carrier Yang Ming, was travelling to Sydney from Taiwan on May 31, 2018 when rough sea conditions on the Tasman Sea caused the 81 containers to fall overboard — damaging 30 others in the process.
Local media reported that nappies, surgical masks, and sanitary products were washing up on the beaches in the Australian state of New South Wales and its capital, Sydney.
ABC News Australia released the following footage of the damaged containers on the vessel: