Cargo ship APL England, which lost 50 containers off the coast of NSW in May, has been cleared to leave Australia to undergo repairs in China.
Cargo ship APL England, which lost 50 containers off the coast of NSW in May, has been cleared to leave Australia to undergo repairs in China.

Troubled cargo ship cleared to leave Australia

A cargo ship that lost 50 containers off the NSW coast and was found to be in breach of maritime safety regulations has been cleared to leave Australia.

The APL England will leave the Port of Brisbane on Friday, without cargo and with a new ship master, to undergo repairs in China.

The ship lost the containers in rough seas on May 24, sparking a clean-up effort across 45 NSW beaches.

Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) inspectors found lashing arrangements were inadequate and securing points on the deck of the ship were heavily corroded.

But with a final inspection on Friday and a written promise to pay fines and other agreed or court-mandated amounts, the ship was cleared to leave.

The bill for the incident could be as high as $22.5 million.

Thirty-five of the containers lost overboard remain missing, with authorities fearing several have sunk.

The owners and insurer of the vessel are in the process of securing a sonar search of about 1000 square kilometres of water from the Illawarra to Sydney, where it is believed multiple containers may lie.

Mohamad Zulkhaili Bin Alias, who was ship master when the incident occurred, will not accompany the ship as it leaves Australian waters.

The 43-year-old is facing two charges of discharging garbage into the sea and failing to ensure a vessel is operated so as not to cause pollution or damage to the Australian marine environment.

He was granted bail on June 12 and will be repatriated at a later date.

In 2016, the APL England, under different owners, lost 37 containers in rough seas in the Great Australian Bight.

Originally published as Troubled cargo ship cleared to leave Aust


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