Quick, heavy rolling is gale force winds caused container losses off Newcastle, Australia says preliminary report

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its preliminary investigation report into the loss of containers overboard from the container ship YM Efficiency, off Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia last month.

The 4,300-TEU Liberian-flagged ship operated by Yang Ming Marine Transport lost 81 containers overboard in gale-force weather conditions on June 1, 2018. Another 62 containers were damaged, and there was structural damage to the ship’s gangway, superstructure and lashing bridges. The ship was on a regular service, calling at ports in China, Taiwan and Australia.

At about 0034 on June 1, the ship experienced a period of quick, heavy rolling for about 60 to 90 seconds. The rolling was estimated by the ship’s master as having reached angles of up to 30º to port and starboard. Shortly after the start of the rolling, several engineering alarms sounded and the main engine shut down. By about 0036, the rolling had reduced and the ship’s motion had calmed. The engine was restarted, and the YM Efficiency eventually berthed in Port Botany on June 6.

Only two containers washed up on shore, another 50 have been located on the sea floor. Contents from the containers washed up ashore over a wide area of the coast.

An investigation by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority found a number of deficiencies relating to the ship’s safety management system, safety of navigation and cargo storage. 324 containers exceeded their tier weight limits as defined in the ship’s cargo securing manual.

The ATSB investigation is continuing. Executive Director Nat Nagy said investigators will now examine the ship’s stow and lashing arrangements and the actions of the crew immediately following the incident.

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