Cargo Ship Captain Faces Trial Over 50 Containers Lost Overboard Off Australia’s East Coast

Mohd Zulkhaili Bin Alias, master of the vessel, ‘APL England’, that lost several dozens of cargo containers off Australia’s east coast was committed to stand trial. Alias faced two charges with 50 containers toppling off the APL England when the ship was in the rough seas when sailing from China to Melbourne in 2020.

Containers along with debris washed up on the beaches of New South Wales, prompting an extensive clean-up drive. Mark Nolan, a Brisbane magistrate, Monday found that there was not enough evidence to keep the 44-year-old captain committed to stand trial on a charge related to the disposal of garbage from a vessel into the sea.

He had made the ruling following the submissions based on definitions of garbage per relevant law. Captain of the vessel, Alias, will face trial on a charge of leading a ship to the sea while he was unseaworthy. That count earlier replaced the one of failing to make sure that a ship does not contribute to any kind of pollution.

APL England containers lost
Image Credits: AMSA

Alias appeared via a video link after being granted bail and permitted to be back home the month following the incident. Nicholas Robinson QC, the Commonwealth prosecutor, said in earlier proceedings that the Crown’s evidence was the fact that the vessel was not loaded safely in China.

He said the un-seaworthiness offense related to the load being improperly and unsafely tied down to satisfy the “perils of a voyage”. APL England had been ordered to the Brisbane port for a thorough examination by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) personnel after it lost the cargo containers nearly 75km off Sydney.

Alias is expected to encounter trial at the district court. The date, however, is not yet declared.


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