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Australia Australian Defence Force called in to search for lost shipping containers

14:55  11 june  2018
14:55  11 june  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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Up to 90 per cent of the debris from shipping containers that fell off a cargo ship almost two weeks ago has been cleaned up, authorities say.

However, it is unknown whether further debris will continue to wash ashore.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) said 750 cubic metres of debris had been gathered, with the focus now turning to difficult to reach sections of the mid-north coastline.

With 81 of the 83 containers still missing, RMS has lodged a request with Australia's Defence Force to find the remainder of the containers and investigate retrieval options.

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Unstable: A tower of lose containers aboard the Liberian-flagged cargo ship YM Efficiency. The operation stepped up on Friday when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority formally requested the Australian Defence Force provide urgent assistance to map the location of the sunken containers .

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RMS Executive Director Angus Mitchell said the debris collected so far had been traced back to 14 of the containers.

He said it was unknown if the remainder of the containers would release more rubbish at a later date.

"Eventually [they] may be covered by sand, but adverse weather conditions can break them open again, so it's not an exact science," he said

"We do know they will deteriorate over time, which is why it's important that we perhaps look at where we can map them and then we've got some information as to what we can do [regarding retrieval] once we've done that.

Authorities assess the debris collected from lost containers from a cargo ship off the coast of Port Stephens. © Provided by ABC News Authorities assess the debris collected from lost containers from a cargo ship off the coast of Port Stephens.

"We're pretty confident most of the sea surface is clear at this stage and our focus is getting that stuff that's been collected on the rock ledges of the coast."

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Search Site. Unstable: A tower of lose containers aboard the Liberian-flagged cargo ship YM Efficiency. The operation stepped up on Friday when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority formally requested the Australian Defence Force provide urgent assistance to map the location of

Unstable: A tower of lose containers aboard the Liberian-flagged cargo ship YM Efficiency. The operation stepped up on Friday when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority formally requested the Australian Defence Force provide urgent assistance to map the location of the sunken containers .

Mr Mitchell said there was no end date to the clean-up operation, which stretches along more than 400 kilometres of the New South Wales coast from Newcastle to north of Coffs Harbour.

The clean-up is costing tens of thousands of dollars a day, which will be paid by the ship's insurer.

Mr Mitchell said locating the lost containers was also a priority to allow the commercial fishing industry to operate safely.

One fishing trawler last week reported snagging a container off the coast of Port Stephens in a fishing ground normally free of obstacles.

The YM Efficiency lost the containers in nine-metre swells on May 31.

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Source: http://au.pressfrom.com/news/australia/-67236-australian-defence-force-called-in-to-search-for-lost-shipping-containers/

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