Quick, Heavy Rolling Led to Loss of Containers from YM Efficiency Off Australia, ATSB Finds

Collapsed containers are seen on the deck of the YM Efficiency upon its arrival at the Port of Botany on June 6, 2018. Photo: ATSB

A short period of quick, heavy rolling in gale-force winds result in the loss 81 containers overboard from the Liberian-flagged containership YM Efficiency off the coast of Newcastle, New South Wales back in June, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a preliminary report into the incident.

The rolling was estimated by the ship’s master as having reached angles of up to 30º to port and starboard.

In addition to the 81 containers lost, the rolling also resulted in damage to a further 62 containers and structural damage to the ship’s gangway, superstructure and lashing bridges, according to the ATSB.

The incident occurred just on June 1, 2018, as the Yang Ming-operated containership was sailing between Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Port Botany, NSW, Australia as part of its regular service.

According to the ATSB report, the YM Efficiency was located about 16 NM east-south-east of Newcastle when it experienced a period of quick, heavy rolling for about 60 to 90 seconds at 0034 on 1 June 2018.

The day before the incident, the ship’s main engine was stopped amid the rough weather, leaving the ship drifting. However, the ship’s main engine was re-started for brief periods over the next few hours to maintain some control over the ship’s drift, the ATSB said.

“At about 2330, the ship’s main engine was started with the engine speed set to 35 rpm and the ship’s head was slowly brought around to the south-west to resume the passage to Port Botany,” the ATSB’s preliminary report stated. “At midnight, the third officer handed over the navigation watch to the second officer. By this time, the ship was on a heading of about 210° with a speed of about 4.3 knots. The weather at midnight was recorded as being overcast with west-south-westerly winds at force nine (between 41 and 47 knots) with 6 m seas and 5 m swells.”

The heavy rolling caused the ships main engine to shut down once again and, by about 0036, the rolling had reduced and the ship’s motion had calmed. 

“Shortly after the start of the rolling, several engineering alarms sounded and the main engine shut down with the rpm reducing to zero. The second officer reported hearing loud noises on deck and suspected that there had been some cargo damage. He turned on the ship’s deck lights and observed that containers had been damaged and possibly lost overboard from the bays aft of the accommodation,” the ATSB report stated. 

YM Efficiency eventually berthed in Port Botany at about 0936 on 6 June.

The ATSB’s investigation into the incident is ongoing and a full report will be released at a later time. The ATSB’s preliminary report included no analysis or findings as a result of the investigation.

The ATSB’s preliminary report can be found here.