APL England detained in Port of Brisbane after container losses

Containership APL England (IMO 9218650) has been detained by authorities in the Port of Brisbane after Australian inspectors said that they had found inadequate lashing arrangements for cargo, plus heavily corroded securing points for containers on deck.

The ship lost at least 40 containers overboard in heavy seas 73km off the coast of New South Wales on Sunday May 24th while en route from Ningbo, China to Melbourne. She rerouted to Brisbane after a temporary propulsion loss left the 277-metre. 5,510 teu vessel rolling in heavy seas and caused several container stacks to topple over. The ship’s master said that 40 containers were lost and that 74 more were damaged on board.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detained APL England on Wednesday night after discovering what investigators described as cargo stowage deficiencies. AMSA said that the ship would not be released until the issues were corrected. It said that “these inspection findings are a clear breach of requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This is a now matter for the ship’s owner, American President Lines (APL), and the operator to rectify.”

The agency noted that all findings would form part of its ongoing investigation. AMSA said that, “while not to pre-empt the outcomes of the investigation, it is clear that the risk of container loss could have been reduced”.

Surgical masks and contents from the container spill began to appear on Australian shores last Tuesday May 26th. AMSA is continuing to provide drift modelling and to work with NSW Maritime, the lead agency responding to the incident’s shoreline impacts.

An aerial survey of the New South Wales coastline performed by AMSA on Wednesday identified two targets found to be five containers, including one set of four containers locked together.

AMSA said it expects the ship owner and its insurer to take full responsibility for addressing any impacts of this incident. “We have heard today the insurer is already engaging contractors to retrieve some of the floating containers,” it said.

Australian authorities have also brought charges against the master of the APL England. The offences relate to pollution and/or damage of the Australian marine environment as a result of poor cargo loading, AMSA said.

AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz said that the decision to press charges against the ship’s Master had not been 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.”

Schwartz also said that AMSA had placed an additional requirement on the owner of the ship under the Protection of the Seas Act. This must be met before the ship will be released from detention. “This action seeks financial security from the insurers in the order of A$22m. This provides a commitment that they will remediate all impacts of this incident. That A$22m covers estimated costs including that of a clean-up”, concluded Schwartz.

2001-built, Singapore-flagged, 65,792 gt APL England is owned by CMB Ocean 13 Leasing Co Pte care of manager APL Co Pte Ltd of Singapore. ISM manager is CMA CGM International Shipping of Singapore. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (European Syndicate) on behalf of CMB Ocean 13 Leasing Co Pte Ltd.