The sister ship of YM Efficiency, which lost 81 shipping containers off the coast of Newcastle and Port Stephens in June 2018, has been arrested in Sydney for a pollution debt of up to A$20M (US$13.4M)
The Federal Court Admiralty Marshal arrested Yang Ming’s YM Eternity at Port Botany after Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) petitioned the court to recover the outstanding debt.
AMSA said in a statement “Yang Ming has 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.” It said 60 containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered while a further 16 are still missing.
In December 2019, AMSA signed a contract with Ardent Oceania to begin the clean-up operation for those 60 containers. The contract is valued at about AU$15M (US$10M). Work begins in March 2020 and is expected to be completed within a month.
AMSA chief executive Mick Kinley said “If you pollute our waters and refuse to pay the price of cleaning up that pollution, we will hold you accountable. Our ocean will not pay the price of Yang Ming’s pollution – Yang Ming will.”
The anticipated cost to locate and clean-up the remaining missing 16 containers a further AU$5M (US$3.3M), bringing Yang Ming’s debt to AU$20M.
The statement added that YM Eternity was also detained by AMSA on 12 July 2019 in Sydney for the same systemic failure to safely stow and secure cargo that led to the YM Efficiency container spill.