The sister ship of the YM Efficiency, which lost 81 shipping containers off the coast of Newcastle and Port Stephens in June 2018, has been arrested in Sydney today for a pollution debt that could reach as high as AUD $20 million.
At 06:50 (AEDT) on Sunday the Federal Court Admiralty Marshall arrested the YM Eternity at Port Botany after 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 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. 60 containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered while a further 16 are still missing.
In December 2019, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) signed a contract with Ardent Oceania, to begin the clean-up operation for those 60 containers. The contract is valued at about $15 million. Work begins in March 2020 and is expected to be completed within a month.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said the arrest of YM Eternity shows that AMSA will not allow international shipping companies to pollute our waters without consequence.
“If you pollute our waters and refuse to pay the price of cleaning up that pollution, we will hold you accountable. Our ocean won’t pay the price of Yang Ming’s pollution – Yang Ming will,” Mr Kinley said.
The anticipated cost to locate and clean-up the remaining missing 16 containers is up to a further $5 million, bringing Yang Ming’s debt to $20 million.
Note – The 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.