A 5,780TEU container ship that lost 50 boxes off the coast of Australia has been allowed to leave Brisbane, heading for a Chinese repair yard, while the master of the vessel, who appeared in court on 12 June has also been allowed to go home.
The Malaysian master, who remains unnamed, faces charges relating to pollution of the environment as a result of poor cargo loading and the corrosion of cargo securing equipment.
An Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spokesperson told Container News, “The master appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday 12 June 2020 where his bail conditions were varied, which allowed the return of his passport enabling him to leave the ship.”
In addition, the crewman was given permission to leave Australia provided he agreed to pay a A$60,000 (USS41,000) deposit.
“The service of documents and other material can happen via his lawyer in Australia, and he must not change his residential address in Malaysia without notifying the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions 14 days ahead of the change. The matter was adjourned to 24 July 2020,” added AMSA.
Meanwhile APL England has now discharged its cargo and has been cleared by AMSA to head for repairs in an unspecified Chinese yard. The ship will leave the Port of Brisbane on the evening of 19 June with a new master, following an AMSA inspection of the vessel’s seaworthiness.
“Prior to allowing the ship to sail, AMSA received a formal written undertaking from the ship’s insurer, Steamship Mutual, that it will pay fines and other amounts that are agreed or imposed by a court in relation to AMSA’s costs in responding to the incident. This commitment is for an amount up to A$22.5 million (US$15.43 million).
APL, a subsidiary of French carrier CMA CGM, and its insurers in the early stages of organising a sonar search of about 1,000km2 of water from the Illawarra to Sydney’s southern suburbs where around 35 containers have yet to be found, as required by AMSA in an earlier directive.
AMSA’s CEO Mick Kinley, while rueing the accident, welcomed what he called the “early response” by the owners and insurers.
“The response to incidents like these don’t happen overnight, but this early commitment shows that the vessel’s owners and insurers intend to do what they can to ensure our seas remain safe and clean,” said Kinley.