APL ENGLAND | Container Clean up & Ship Repairs
APL England, a Singapore-flagged vessel, lost 50 containers in heavy seas off the New South Wales coast whilst facing adverse weather conditions on 24 May 2020.
ANL CEO Xavier Eiglier says “there is no doubt about the number of missing containers, as the vessel is now empty, with all remaining containers safely discharged from the vessel on Wednesday 17th June. As from the very beginning, we continue to work hard, and as quickly as possible, to clean up any debris upcoming ashore.
Safety is key
On the night of the incident, the containers fell overboard at least 40 nautical miles away from the NSW shoreline and most likely sunk to a depth of 3,000m. At this depth they are unlikely to pose any danger to marine vessels in that location. But as Mr. Eiglier says, “Safety is still a priority and ANL will work with the owner of the vessel to minimize the possibility of any risk to mariners, fishermen or local communities. We are constantly monitoring the situation”.
15 containers have been recovered to date and an Invitation to Tender (ITT) is being prepared in order to appoint experts in additional sonar searches. The objective of this sonar search will be to locate containers which could represent a danger to mariners or commercial fishing operations.
On the debris clean-up operations, he notes that, “With the help of professional clean up support and the local and maritime authorities we have been checking for debris on land or at sea. This has been very important in terms of safety, and of course as part of our commitment to cleaning debris coming ashore along the New South Wales coastline. It is a big ongoing job that we intend to keep progressing.”
Cooperation continues with the authorities
ANL has cooperated with all maritime authorities and local councils since the incident occurred, and Mr. Eiglier says that the company intends to continue to do so with all key stakeholders.
“We have worked very closely with all parties right from the start,” says Mr Eiglier. “This cooperative approach has been a very important facilitator, for example, to the excellent progress we have made with regards to the clean-up. Working alongside the New South Wales maritime authorities we have, to date, cleaned 45 beaches and will continue this work. We will maintain our efforts with all stakeholders with a view to having the best outcome for all concerned.”
While in Brisbane, the APL England has been able to safely discharge all cargo. Simultaneously, over the last few weeks, cooperation has continued with AMSA to enable the vessel to depart to the appropriate shipyard to complete her repairs.