Iranian fuel shipment heads to Venezuela
Iranian fuel shipment heads to Venezuela TELESUR /

Face masks have washed ashore Australia’s east coast after a cargo ship lost dozens of its containers in rough seas.

In an incident report, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority confirmed that in the early morning of May 24 (Sunday) about 40 containers were lost overboard from the Singapore-flagged container ship, APL England.

“The incident with the APL England happened just after 6.10am AEST on Sunday 24 May when the ship experienced a temporary loss of propulsion during heavy seas about 73 km south east of Sydney,” AMSA noted.

Its power was restored a few minutes later, but due to the rough weather and thrashing waves, the ship was “rolling heavily” causing containers to collapse and fall overboard “in waters about two kilometres deep.” An additional 74 containers were damaged.

The ship was on its way from Ningbo, China to Melbourne, Australia.

AMSA received reports that medical supplies were washing up between Magenta Beach and The Entrance. These include face masks that would’ve been helpful during the coronavirus pandemic. The state government of New South Wales expects more debris to wash-up in the coming days, and a clean-up response has already been kicked off.

A video posted by AMSA on its Facebook page showed the overturned containers on the ship.

Following an inspection by AMSA surveyors, it was discovered that the ship had inadequate lashing arrangements and corroded securing points for cargo which may have led to the containers collapsing at sea.

“These inspection findings are a clear breach of requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS),” the report noted.

“The APL England is currently being detained in the Port of Brisbane and the detention will not be lifted until these serious deficiencies are fixed.