Containership YM Eternity (IMO 9353292), the sister ship of containership YM Efficiency (IMO 9353280) has been arrested in Sydney for a pollution debt that could reach as high as A$20m (US$13.4m). YM Efficiency lost 81 shipping containers off the coast of Newcastle and Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia, in June 2018,
The Federal Court Admiralty Marshall arrested the YM Eternity at Port Botany during the morning of Sunday February 9th after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) petitioned the court to recover the outstanding debt.
Both the YM Eternity and YM Efficiency are owned by a subsidiary of Taiwanese shipping company Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.
Yang Ming is alleged by AMSA to have refused to pay for the clean-up of the remaining pollution, including the containers and their contents which have been located on the seafloor off the coast of Newcastle. So far, 60 containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered, and a further 16 are still missing.
In December 2019 AMSA signed a contract with Ardent Oceania to begin the clean-up operation for the 60 containers. That contract is valued at about A$15m. Work is scheduled to begin in March 2020 and is expected to take about a month.
AMSA CEO Mick Kinley said the arrest of the sister ship showed that AMSA would not allow international shipping companies to pollute Australian waters without consequence. “Our ocean won’t pay the price of Yang Ming’s pollution – Yang Ming will”, he said.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the YM Efficiency incident is on-going. A preliminary report indicated that the vessel was in heavy seas and experienced a period of quick, heavy rolling for about 60 to 90 seconds. The rolling was estimated by the ship’s master as having reached angles of up to 30º to port and starboard. Shortly after the start of the rolling, several engineering alarms sounded and the main engine shut down. The second officer reported hearing loud noises on deck and it was later discovered that 81 containers had gone overboard.
2009-built, Liberia-flagged, 42,471 gt YM Eternity is owned by All Oceans Transportation Inc care of manager Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp of Taiwan. It is entered with Britannia Steamship on behalf of All Oceans Transportation Inc.