Surgical masks washing up on New South Wales coast after containers lost

Surgical masks and other items began washing up onto Australian beaches on Tuesday May 26th after containership APL England (IMO 9218650) lost at least 40 containers overboard in heavy seas off the coast of Sydney (IMN May 26th 2020).

The medical supplies have been found on shores between Magenta Beach and The Entrance, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) stated on Wednesday, noting that the locations and contents were consistent with its debris drift models and items listed on the cargo manifest of the APL England.

Modelling suggested that debris could continue to wash-up over the coming days, AMSA said.

The containership lost 40 containers off the coast of New South Wales in rough weather on Sunday May 24th while en route from China to Melbourne. A further 74 containers were damaged.

AMSA has said that the vessel suffered a temporary loss of propulsion during heavy seas, when she was about 73km southeast of Sydney.

In addition to the 74 containers damaged on board, a further six containers reported to be protruding from starboard side, and three containers from the port side of the ship.

The APL England had departed Ningbo, China on May 11th and was en route to Melbourne at the time of the incident. It altered course after the incident and arrived on Tuesday at the Port of Brisbane anchorage, off Port Cartwright, where AMSA surveyors boarded the vessel to conduct a seaworthiness inspection.

The outcome will help inform if, and how, the ship might be brought safely into the Port of Brisbane in conjunction with Maritime Safety Queensland, AMSA said.

Once the ship is in port AMSA will begin a safety investigation, looking at whether the cargo was appropriately stacked and secured on board the ship, and any potential breaches of environmental pollution regulations.