AMSA still pushing for A$17m in clean-up costs: report

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was continuing to press the operator of the YM Efficiency (IMO 9353280) to pay the A$17m (US$11m) cleanup costs after 63 lost containers were recovered from the bottom of the Tasman Sea. More than 80 were lost in June 2018 while the vessel was some 20 miles from shore.

AMSA handled the cleanup operations after a dispute as to who should pay for the recovery.

In December 2019 AMSA hired Ardent Oceania to perform the salvage work, which began on April 3rd and concluded on May 8th.

Ardent utilized the 130-meter offshore supply vessel ‘Pride’ equipped with a 250-metric-ton active heave-compensating subsea crane and a 35-metric-ton auxiliary crane to recover the containers and debris.

A custom-built steel basket was lowered to the seafloor. ROVs helped to transfer the containers and associated debris to the ship.

The salvage vessel made four trips to port over a five-week period (a week was lost to weather) to discharge the recovered containers, where they were processed at a specially constructed facility within the Port of Newcastle.

Work to locate and recover the remaining missing containers could require another A$5m. If AMSA cannot recover the cost, it said that the salvage would be paid for by levies collected from the shipping industry.

AMSA said that attempts to engage with Yang Ming regarding their responsibility to remove the lost containers and their contents had thus far been unsuccessful.

AMSA said that it would continue legal proceedings in Federal Court in an attempt to recover all costs associated with the recovery operation from Yang Ming and their insurers.

AMSA CEO Mick Kinley said that the operation had exposed Yang Ming and their insurer’s arguments against removing this pollution as nonsense.

“Yang Ming are out of excuses and they should pay up”, he said.

In February one of Yang Ming’s ships, the YM Eternity, was arrested at Port Botany after AMSA petitioned the court to recover the outstanding debt. The same vessel had also been detained by AMSA in July 2019 in Sydney for the same failure to safely stow and secure cargo that led to the YM Efficiency container spill.

2009-built, Liberia-flagged, 42,741 gt YM Efficiency is owned by All Oceans Transportation Inc care of Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp of the Republic of Taiwan. It is entered with Britannia Club on behalf of All Oceans Transportation Inc.